jttH Jf I
-jj» .: '
GOTTLIEB SCHOBER OF SALEM
Discipleship and Ecumenical Vision
in an Early Moravian Town
by JERRY L. SURRATT
MERCER UNIVERSITY PRESS / MACON, GEORGIA 32107
ISBN D-Ab5S L 4-QA3-7
Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Copyright © 1983
Mercer University Press
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
Parts of chapters 2, 3, and 4 appear also in the author's
"The Moravian as Businessman: Gottlieb Schober of Salem,'
North Carolina Historical Review 60:1 (Winter 1983).
All books published by Mercer University Press are produced
on acid-free paper that exceeds the minimum standards set by the
National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Surratt, Jerry L., 1936-
Gottlieb Schober of Salem.
Bibliography: p 229
1. Schober, Got 1756-1838. 2. Moravian Church —
North Carolina— -Clergy — Biography. 3. Salem
(N.C.) — Biograph Salem (N.C.) — History.
BX8593.S3S95 IS 284'.6'092 [B] 83-983
TABLE OF CONTENTS
List of Illustrations vii
Moravians and Schobers 1
Growing Up in Wachovia 15
A Family and the Search for Security 33
The Paper Mill and Prosperity 49
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land 63
A Controversial Community Leader 83
From Lawyer to State Senator 101
The Frustrations of Law and Politics 117
A Call to Preach and Publish 135
Leadership among Lutherans 155
An Ecumenical Vision 177
Controversy with the Henkels 193
Teaching Them in Sunday Schools 211
Epilogue: A Vision of Discipleship 223
To Alice, Andrea, Emily, and Maria,
Wife and Daughters,
Who have been patient and loving
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Gottlieb Schober ( 1756-1838) Frontispiece
Courtesy of Esley O. Anderson, Charlotte, N.C.
Map of Wachovia, 1766, with some additional surveys 14
By Christian G. Reuter.
Courtesy of the Archives of the Moravian Church,
Maria Magdalena Schober (1758-1835) 32
Courtesy of the Archives of the Moravian Church,
The Gottlieb Schober House built in 1785 62
Artist's conception by Stewart Archibald.
Courtesy of Old Salem Incorporated,
The Congregation House in Salem, 1771 82
Artist's conception by Stewart Archibald.
Courtesy of Old Salem, Incorporated,
View of Salem from the West, 1787 116
Painted by Ludwig Gottfried Redeken.
Courtesy of the Wachovia Historical Society
viii • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Model of Salem as it appeared about 1830 176
Prepared by Old Salem Incorporated.
Courtesy of Old Salem, Incorporated and the
Archives of the Moravian Church, Southern Province
Salem Moravian Church, consecrated in 1800 210
Drawn about 1857 by N. S. Siewers.
Courtesy of the Archives of the Moravian Church,
1 he completion of this study of Gottlieb Schober was made
possible by the encouragement and cooperation of many individuals over
a long period of time. An initial fascination with the man emerged from
my graduate study of Salem's evolution. At many significant points
Schober's name and influence appeared as I worked through the records.
Long after the dissertation was completed, I began this second project
centered around Schober, but very soon my leisurely investigation uncov-
ered the immensity of the task. I considered abandoning the project, but
some of Schober's descendants, especially Charles N. "Pete" Siewers,
John Fries Blair, and Esley O. Anderson, Jr., provided continuing encour-
agement. The project was further enhanced with the restoration of
Schober's home by Old Salem, Incorporated, and its acquisition of a
significant body of Schober's personal papers which had been unavailable
for research. Funds to support the research and writing were granted by
the Robertson-Farmer Fund of the Southern Baptist Education Commis-
sion. As the manuscript neared completion and publication approached,
the Wachovia Historical Society, under the leadership of William East,
granted funds to help underwrite the costs of publication. To all of these
individuals and agencies, I am deeply grateful.
A special word of appreciation must be conveyed to certain persons.
R. Arthur Spaugh, Jr., President of Old Salem, Incorporated, has been a
x • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
continuing source of help and encouragement. Miss Mary Creech, Archi-
vist of the Moravian Church in America, Southern Province, has contrib-
uted most generously of her time and expertise in locating numerous
records and in reviewing the completed manuscript. Colleagues and staff
members of Wingate College have been supportive in a project that
required far longer to complete than initially anticipated. Finally, I am
grateful to Mercer University Press for their willingness to bring this
project to its completion. My greatest debt of all is to my wife and
daughters, to whom this book is dedicated.
From beginning to end this study has been an exciting and personally
rewarding adventure. It is my hope that the work will help to preserve
and interpret the life of Gottlieb Schober and the history of the Moravian
Church in America.
Jerry L. Surratt
f the pioneers who settled and civilized the wilderness of the
eighteenth-century North Carolina backcountry, one of the most inter-
esting and noteworthy was Gottlieb Schober. Traveling to the village of
Salem as a boy of thirteen, this man labored for sixty-eight years to
transform frontier into habitation and to convert ignorance and mean-
ness into enlightenment and justice.
Schober's career is of interest for several reasons. First, he spans an
enormous range of community evolution in Salem. When he entered the
town in 1770, it was almost exclusively a religious community, a theocracy
in which the Moravian church owned the land, managed the affairs, and
completely controlled community membership. Practically untouched by
the swirling forces which involved colonists in a struggle for independ-
ence, and unconcerned with emerging concepts of national destiny, Salem
sought quietly to fulfill its mission. Moravians wished simply to evangel-
ize the Indians and remote settlers and to establish a haven for the
cultivation of the consecrated Christian life. However worthy that goal,
Schober saw drastic, uprooting change during his lifespan. At his death in
1838, Salem differed from its surrounding sister towns only in a few
aspects and even these had been largely emptied of meaning. Of the social
and economic individualism which largely brought about this change,
Gottlieb Schober was Salem's most prominent embodiment. He was
2 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
occasionally a leader, but more often a gadfly. Time and again he was
cautioned, reprimanded, and censured as he found and exploited loop-
holes and ambiguities in community regulations. But he struggled in the
face of frustration, adapted, and survived. In the life of this individual the
adaptation and survival of Salem can be viewed in microcosm.
Schober is interesting also as a study in personality. A fiery disposi-
tion which was tolerated as youthful enthusiasm in early years became
less welcome in a young adult. Schober seemed bound to antagonize
others even when trying his best to serve them and the community
honestly and creatively. Yet he was respected by many and continually
elected to positions of leadership. He could be headstrong and totally
unwilling to compromise on matters of practice as well as principle.
Vitriolic language and pure character assasination were his tools for
persuasion of the recalcitrant, especially if he felt wronged. Coupled with
this explosiveness was a quiet appreciation of beauty, for Schober was an
accomplished organist who was welcomed to play for worship even when
church authorities felt it best that he not share in Holy Communion
because of his disruptions in the community. His artistry made the
German chorales beloved by Moravians majestically sing praises to the
Almighty. He loved children and almost singlehandedly built the Sunday
schools in the vicinity of Salem in which many first learned to read, write,
and spell. Proudly the seventy-year-old man led the annual Sunday school
parade in the 1820s as hundreds of youngsters followed him through the
streets of Salem. In creative tension these attributes sparked the person-
ality of Gottlieb Schober.
A third point of interest in Gottlieb Schober is the quality of intellec-
tual insight which he possessed. As might be expected, he was primarily a
doer rather than a thinker, and therefore his writings reveal more
enthusiasm than originality. He authored several pamphlets on contem-
porary religious controversies and a history of the church following the
Reformation. He was attracted to early German romantic authors and
translated several works into English. But Schober's real genius lay in his
translation of ideas into action, even if that action was sometimes impul-
sive. The world of the mind impinged directly on the work of the hand
and on the speaking of the persuasive word. Schober arrived in Salem
with no financial assets. In a society that steadfastly subordinated individ-
ual economic initiative he nevertheless embodied that concept so persist-
ently that he became a man of considerable means. In a community that
consistently discouraged social mobility he rose from apprentice to crafts-
Moravians and Schobers • 3
man of leather and tin; to respected businessman who built Salem's first
industry, to elected community leader; to lawyer and politician in the
North Carolina Senate; and, in the final stage of his career, to respected
pastor and president of the Lutheran Synod of North Carolina. In
Schober, the individualism so prominent among adventuresome Ameri-
cans found ready soil for root and blossom. In this sense he became an
intellectual leader at least among his own people. Others in Salem saw the
same vision but in no other person did the dream engender reality so
The ability of Schober to translate vision into reality held equally true
in the theological dimension. Schober reflected largely the ideas of his
early training; the ceaseless repetition of theological phrases in Moravian
education and worship developed in him a German evangelical pietism
built on the Augsburg Confession. In one dimension, however, Schober
transcended both his Moravian and Lutheran contemporaries. He was
absolutely convinced that the essentials of the Christian faith had priority
over any ideas that might fragment Christianity into confessional or
denominational groups. In this conviction, Schober was the spiritual heir
of Nicholaus Ludwig, Count von Zinzendorf, on whose estate persecuted
Moravians found asylum in 1722. The Count advocated a "Church of God
in the Spirit" which would include all Christians. But even Moravians
soon discarded the Count's idealism and, in 1748, considered themselves a
separate church. Schober is the most notable link between Zinzendorf
and the later ecumenical developments of the mid-nineteenth century.
He defied church authorities by accepting Lutheran ordination while
maintaining his Moravian connections. Without hesitation he advocated
union in the face of steady opposition and even showed in writing how so
venerable an expression as the Augsburg Confession could be interpreted
in essentials to promote the unity of all Christians.
With these attributes the character of the man begins to emerge. It
was his fate to live and work in obscurity on the frontier during a period of
emerging nationhood. He was most at home with settlers from Europe
who were slow to acclimate themselves to the mainstream of American
life. But his impact on these people was considerable percisely because he
combined a deep rooted European heritage with an American experience
inspired by the advent of freedom.
Gottlieb Schober was the son of Andreas Schober, a Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania stonemason, and Hedwig Regina Schober. Both parents
4 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
immigrated in 1743 to America from the European Moravian communi-
ties. Andreas Schober was born in November 1711 in New Hoffmans-
dorf, Moravia. 1 In 1729 he became acquainted with some preachers of the
Unitas Fratrum, 2 who had returned to their native Moravia on a mission-
ary journey. Members of the Unity of Brethren had fled to Saxony and
Silesia during the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) to escape religious
persecution. The group scattered and almost perished until in 1722, a
group was granted asylum on the Silesian estate of Nicholaus Ludwig,
Count von Zinzendorf. Five years later the Unitas Fratrum was reconsti-
tuted and rapidly prospered in its new-found freedom. The Brethren built
the communities of Herrnhut and Herrnhaag as congregation towns
from which missionaries traveled widely and colonists journeyed to
specific locations to build new communities. It was a group of these
missionaries that Andreas Schober met in 1729. Later visits by the
Brethren to the Schober household strengthened this acquaintance and in
1734 Andreas came to Herrnhut. There he practiced his craft as a
stonemason and three years later joined the congregation. He lived in
Berthelsdorf and Herrnhaag as a member of the single brother's choir 3
until 1743 when he sought permission to emigrate to America. He could
have undertaken this arduous journey as a single brother, but at thirty-
two it was time for marriage. Moravians viewed marriage within the
context of the individual's fulfillment of God's will for his life. To remain
unmarried was quite honorable since it allowed a person to serve God
fully without family responsibilities. If one wished to marry, church
leaders were much involved in the choice of mates, although individuals
could always decline a proposed connection. On 19 June 1743 Andreas
•Andreas was the son of Johannes Schober, a merchant, and Catharina, nee
Kuntschner. According to family research and tradition, Johannes was a refugee from
France who fled religious persecution and changed the spelling of his surname from
Joubert to Schober.
translation: Unity of Brethren or Brethren for short. In America they became known
as the Moravians. See J. Taylor Hamilton and Kenneth G. Hamilton, History of the
Moravian Church: The Renewed Unitas Fratrum 1722-1957 (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania:
Moravian Church in America, 1967).
3 Moravians organized their communities in terms of age and marital status into
groups called "choirs." The choir shared religious services and instruction and, in the case
of single men or single women in some communities, it was an economic and social unit
providing housing and means of livelihood.
Moravians and Schobers • 5
was married to Hedwig Regina Schubert in a ceremony shared with
eleven other couples. Baron Johannes von Watteville, a prominent
church leader, performed the group ceremony and Count Zinzendorf
himself pronounced the benediction. All the couples together composed
the second "sea congregation" for the journey to America. Sailing
together as a group, the "congregation" quickly developed bonds of
friendship and common purpose which lasted many years, even though
the settlers scattered to various Moravian towns in America. The first sea
congregation had sailed in 1742 and settled in Pennsylvania to build the
town of Bethlehem. Now Andreas and his new bride were among those
destined to civilize the wilds of the new world.
Hedwig Regina Schubert was born on 13 September 1721 in Land-
berg, Pomerania. When Hedwig was about ten years old, her father died,
and she traveled with her mother to Berlin to live with an aunt, her
mother's sister. A few years later, Widow Schubert and young Hedwig
met several Moravians including Count Zinzendorf, and in 1737 the
Schuberts came to live at Herrnhut. The mother stayed only a year, but
Hedwig joined the children's group and assumed full membership in
1740. She traveled to Herrnhaag in early 1743 and was there married to
Andreas Schober in preparation for the journey to America. 4
On 12 September 1743 the Schobers were among seventy-five colo-
nists from Herrnhaag and Marienborn, and another twenty from Herrn-
hut who boarded the ship "Little Strength" in Rotterdam. 5 The vessel
was commanded by Captain Nicholas Garrison and manned by eleven
seamen, all but two of whom were themselves Brethren. The anchor was
weighed on the 16th, and seven days later the "Little Strength" first
breasted the waves of the North Sea. After picking up a few more
passengers in Cowes, England, the band of 117 pilgrims finally faced
4 Hedwig was the daughter of Christian Schubert, Provincial Chancellor of Pomerania
and Dorothea, nee Raunch. Family tradition maintains that Hedwig was reared among
Prussia's upper social class and that there were connections between her parents and
relatives and Prussian rulers. This account of the early lives of Andreas and Hedwig
Schober is based on memoirs of each, written at their deaths in 1792 and 1800 respec-
tively, and filed in the Archives of the Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A
minister or close friends wrote such a life summary for most Moravians who died during
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
s John C. Brickenstein, "The Second 'Sea Congregation' 1743," Transactions of the
Moravian Historical Society (1:107-24), p. 112.
6 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
westward. They were frustrated by several days of uncooperative
weather, but on October 2, winds carried them beyond sight of land; for
the next fifty-five days Andreas and Hedwig Schober sailed toward the
By this time, life on shipboard was well organized. The women were
quartered in tiny staterooms on the middle deck while the men swung
hammocks on the lower level. The leaders organized mess-companies for
eating and cleaning and assigned specific duties for cooking, management
of provisions, tending the sick, and night watches. During the long days
most passengers were far from idle: Germans studied the English lan-
guage while the English Brethren struggled to master German. Evenings
were given to worship, with services conducted on the middle and lower
decks simultaneously. According to the journal:
The sisters sit on the benches, each before her stateroom; the brethren each
near his hammock, whilst the Liturgus takes his stand near, or on, the stairs
which connect the two decks, thus becoming audible and in part visible to
both. Lovefeasts, both regular Sabbath lovefeasts and occasional ones on
birthdays, & c, are celebrated on deck, if wind and weather permit; . . . They
are mostly prepared from the ship's stores, and are distinguished from other
meals chiefly by the social manner of enjoying them, and the religious
feature they bear; singing, short addresses, reading of missionary and other
reports, and religious conversation forming part of the entertainment. 6
As the "Little Strength" moved smoothly under full canvas, most
passengers began to enjoy the trip. They spoke with keen consciousness
of their dependence upon God and a belief in His special providence over
this group. But not everything was enjoyable. First seasickness, then
monotony threatened equilibrium; to these was added a real physical
threat when leaks were discovered in fresh water casks. Then on 1
November, the voyagers were enveloped in a furious storm.
The hatches were closed and secured; the quarters on the middle and lower
decks were shrouded in midnight darkness, and lights were kept burning all
day. During the regular and irregular tossing and rocking of the ship, it often
seemed as if she was on the point of turning over completely, when those
who were standing or sitting on one side of the deck found themselves next
moment sprawling at the feet of those on the other side, to be transferred in
company with them back to their former position . . . .Whilst the waves were
thumping and washing the deck, and during the roaring and hissing of
thunder, tempest and ocean, the different class or mess companies were
''Quoted from the diary of George Neisser by Brickenstein, "The Second Sea Congre-
gation' 1743," pp.1 18-19.
Moravians and Schobers • 7
sitting together in semi-darkness, engaged for the most part in singing. A
temporary lull in the tempest would enable all to chime in with the singers. 7
Through this crisis the Brethren perservered. On 20 November
soundings established the proximity of land but storms, fog and adverse
wind kept the ship off the coast. Finally on 26 November, the Schobers
and their shipmates first saw America. Within a few hours, the "Little
Strength" rode safely at anchor just off Staten Island. The Brethren gave
thanks for a successful voyage.
Meanwhile, the citizens of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, were excited to
hear of the arrival of the second sea congregation to American shores, and
were especially delighted when the weary travelers began to appear.
Bethlehem was the first successful attempt of Moravians to build a
community in America. The first Brethren crossing the Atlantic had
settled in Savannah, Georgia, in 1735. Civil authorities there, needing
help in battling the fearsome Spanish in Florida, declared that all citizens
must be willing to bear arms and that only citizens could preach to the
Indians. The Brethren disavowed the new regulation and, in 1740, the ten
remaining colonists accepted George Whitefield's offer of work and land
in Pennsylvania. After arriving in the Quaker colony, however, theologi-
cal disagreements between the revivalist and Brethren led to the latter's
purchase of land on the Delaware River. It was on this tract that the
Georgia settlers and the first sea congregation of 1742 had begun to build
the town into which Andreas and Hedwig Schober walked on 6 December
1743. Here where the Schobers were to spend most of their lives, the
congregation celebrated a lovefeast, after which "we welcomed our new
brethren and sisters with the kiss of love and washed their weary and
wounded pilgrim feet. (For they had had bad weather, roads, and lodging
on their journey, and at times were short of food.)" 8 The Schobers, along
with most of the new arrivals, were designated as the first settlers for the
new town of Nazareth, located on the original Whitefield tract. White-
field had encountered financial problems forcing the cancellation of his
plans for colonization, so he sold the land to the Moravians in 1741.
Workmen from Bethlehem had already almost completed the first build-
Taraphrased from the journal of Johann Hopfner by Brickenstein, "The Second 'Sea
Congregation' 1743,'' p. 121.
"Kenneth G. Hamilton, trans, and ed., The Bethlehe??i Diary, 1 742-1744 (Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania: Archives of the Moravian Church, 1971), 1:171.
8 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
ing in Nazareth, making stonemason Schober anxious to get to the new
village as soon as possible. After a restful Christmas season in Bethlehem,
they traveled the last few miles of their long trek to Nazareth on 2
January 1744. Their sojourn in this village was short, however. Andreas
helped in construction, but since Nazareth was primarily an agricultural
community, his talents must have been needed in the commercial town of
Bethlehem. In any case, by late 1744 or early the following year, the
Schobers were back in Bethlehem. Sister Schober in 1745 became the
teacher for small girls, responsible primarily to instruct them in reading
and writing. 9 Brother Schober became the warden of the congregation
charged to supervise the general social and economic welfare of the
people. This was a most responsible position in an area of critical
importance, and it occupied most of Schober's time and effort for the next
few years. The warden's function was included in Hamilton's description
of Moravian towns like Bethlehem.
A Moravian settlement consisted normally of a village, the inhabitants of
which belonged without exception to the Church, for only they were permit-
ted to reside there permanently or to acquire property within it. A confer-
ence of elders superintended the spiritual affairs of the community. The local
minister acted as its chairman; its membership consisted of all other
ordained servants of the Church who resided in the settlement together with
those sisters who had oversight over the women. The village government
was vested in a warden, with whom were associated the members of the
Aufseher Collegium, a committee elected by church council. Matters of
primary importance were referred for decision to the church council itself,
which consisted of a somewhat larger group of male communicants. 10
The contributions of Andreas Schober to the development of Bethlehem
are at present hidden in the very difficult Old German script in which
church records were recorded. A translation of this immense store of
information has only begun; and it is beyond the scope of this study to
explore in depth the career of Andreas. At the moment he can only be
acknowledged as a leader in the mother community of all American
Among the happenings in the Schober household in these early years
was the arrival of children. Johanna Sophia was born on 16 December
"'Bethlehem Diary, 7,12 April 1745. Manuscript in the Archives of the Moravian
Church, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Hereinafter cited as Moravian Archives ( Bethlehem).
^History of the Moravian Church, p. 169. The Aufseher Collegium is usually trans-
lated as Board of Overseers.
Moravians and Schobers • 9
1744, but died within sixteen months. Another daughter also named
Johanna Sophia made her appearance on 25 May 1747. Two years later
Johann Andreas was born, followed by Joseph, then Samuel, then Gott-
lieb, and finally a son who died in infancy. All of the children were reared
in Moravian communities, but only Gottlieb maintained a lifelong con-
nection with the church. 11
Gottlieb Schober was born on the first day of November 1756. Other
than his baptism shortly thereafter, very little is known of his early
childhood. But a clue to the character of Schober's rearing he himself
provided in a statement some years later.
Even in my childhood years [Jesus] drew me to himself so that I loved him
tenderly and often prayed to him with trust. I could often say to him the
childish prayer "Keep me with you." Especially when I left the stage of
childhood and was to be received in the boys' choir, my tears flowed the
whole day because I feared what would happen to me in the world. I
promised myself to the Saviour and asked for [death] if he saw that I did not
want to be his. This day remains unforgettable to me. 12
Gottlieb stated that until his thirteenth year he studied at Nazareth Hall,
a boarding school for boys operated by the Moravians. In 1755, the
Brethren constructed a building in Nazareth of beautiful native limestone
in which they hoped Count Zinzendorf would live upon his return to
America. The structure was eighty by forty feet, three stories high with a
gambrel roof and belfry. 13 It was modeled after a Silesian manor house
and was an imposing structure suitable for a nobleman. When Count
Zinzendorf decided not to return to America, the Moravians in 1759
converted the building into a boys' school to complement a similar
institution for girls already existing in Bethlehem.
On 6 June 1759, 111 boys, with nineteen tutors and attendants left
Bethlehem for a happy trip to their new home. During four years under
"Johanna Sophia married Christian Franz in 1773 and they went as missionaries to
Jamaica. Franz died in 1781 and Johanna remarried, but details of her later life are
unknown. Johann Andreas married Rosina Thomas and was organist for Lititz congrega-
tion from 1763 to 1769, when he was dismissed from the church. He lived until 1805.
Joseph never married, and lived his adult life in Philadelphia. Samuel disliked the
restraints of the Moravians and moved to Philadelphia.
12 Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Hereinafter cited as Moravian Archives. See footnote number one of chapter 2 for
complete bibliographical discussion of manuscript sources.
"William C. Reichel, Historical Sketch of Nazareth Hall from 1753-1869 (Philadel-
phia: J.B. Lippencott Co., 1869), p. 24.
10 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
the principalship of John Michael Graff the school continuously enrolled
more than 100 students, but changes in the financial system in Bethlehem
in 1763 made it necessary that the school begin to charge tuition. It was
probably about this time that Gottlieb Schober entered as a little boy of
six. Separation from the parental household at a tender age was not
unusual among Moravians, although it was never forced. The school
assumed the roles of both teacher and parent and balanced religious
training with the traditional classical education of the day. The new
principal in 1763 was Francis C. Lembke, a profound scholar who had
studied in the Universities of Erfurt, Leipsig, Jena, and Strassburg. He
held the degree Magister Philosophiae and had taught in the Strassburg
Gymnasium. 14 This man, along with other tutors, opened the world of
learning to young Schober. His parents paid ten pounds per year to
provide tuition, board and lodging, light, and fuel. Musical and manual
training was available for those wishing it. The school was to be "an
educational institution of the Church" in which "were to be educated not
only skillful mechanics, but also assistants in the work of the Lord." 15
While the enrollment was not as large as when the community treasury of
Bethlehem had paid all expenses, the school prospered modestly and in
1770 sixty-seven students lived, studied, and worked at Nazareth Hall.
Altogether young Schober probably had at least four and possibly seven
years there. No records reveal details on the curriculum, but a book
inventory of 30 April 177 1 gives an idea of what the boys studied. The 394
volumes embraced seventy-seven different titles, including grammar
texts and lexicons for Latin, Hebrew, Greek, German, English, and
French; Greek Testaments; Discourses on Augustine's Confessions; sev-
eral volumes of Moravian sermons and doctrinal expositions; world
history texts; Julius Caesar; Cicero's Epistles; Castelliani's Dialogues;
English history; Biblical history and antiquity; studies of Old and New
Testament; texts on grammatical and oratorical styles; and workbooks
for mathematics, arithmetic, and geography. The inventory also men-
tions "a keyboard inst. in the boy's room" on which young Gottlieb
U H. H. Hacker, Nazareth Halt (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: Times Publishing Co.,
1910), p. 31.
ls Levin T. Reichel, A History of Nazareth Hall, (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Co.,
1855), p. 21.
Moravians and Schobers • 11
doubtless began to acquire the musical skills which he displayed early in
Student life in Nazareth Hall was carefully disciplined. Each group of
boys lived with two adult house-fathers who awakened them by 6:00 a.m.,
supervised room cleaning, and checked "cleanliness and orderliness dur-
ing dressing, proper washing, combing of the hair, changing of under-
wear, shoes, etc." 17 Before breakfast the group gathered in a circle for
prayer, scripture verses, and singing. After the meal,
with the sound of the bell, the young people must be ready for their lessons
or meetings. For the meetings they will file in and out, according to their
rooms, in a respectful manner, and in the accompaniment of their two
The lessons were regular and demanding. Tutors were forbidden to omit
any "individual school lessons without first the prior knowledge and
permission of the inspector." Even after lessons they were to be "usefully
occupied" running errands or helping the craftsmen and professionals of
the village. The house-fathers were expected to know each boy well and to
promote his spiritual as well as physical and intellectual growth. They
helped the boys maintain cleanliness and orderliness with their belong-
ings, write letters home, learn good manners and politeness, and manage
the "pocket-money from their parents." House-fathers were expected to
be good examples of cleanliness, including
daily combing of the hair, washing of the skin and face, rinsing out of the
mouth, keeping the teeth clean, regular changing of linen and underclothing,
washing of the feet, in the summer at least once weekly, in the winter, at least
l6 Book Inventory for Nazareth Hall, 30 April 1771. Manuscript in Moravian Archives
(Bethlehem). Translation by Del-Louise Moyer.
n The discussion of student life and the quotations are drawn from the document
entitled "Draft for the House Regulations of the Educational Institution at Nazareth,"
manuscript in Moravian Archives ( Bethlehem). Translation is by Del-Louise Moyer. The
document contains no date but several reasons support a conclusion that it comes from the
1750s or 1760s. First, it was recently discovered in the Archives among documents of that
period. Second, the language and ideas are consistent with other such documents of that
period. Third, Nazareth Hall declined in the early 1770s and ceased to function during the
Revolution. It was reconstituted in 1 785 and a complete set of house regulations, properly
dated, exists for the later period.
12 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Each was expected to possess a love for the young and a genuine concern
for their care. Punishment of boys with "curse words, slapping, beating
with a stick or rod, or the removal of necessary food and drink" was
forbidden, but reprimands consistent with the problem were allowed.
"For example Since you've been lazy today, you won't need any recess to
recuperate. If, however, you persist in being lazy, one will have to use
other means to make you diligent.' " 19
Above all, said the regulations,
seriousness and faithfulness for God's work must shine forth from the entire
being of each brother, who desires to work usefully in the education of the
youth in this institution. The young people must notice in all that we do that
nothing is more important or greater for us than to rightfully serve God our
Lord and His congregation.
Young Gottlieb valued his educational experience at Nazareth Hall
highly. Later in life his familiarity with the classics of Greek and Latin
literature, his musical ability, and his skill as a speaker testified to the
quality of his instruction. But at thirteen, he was ready to enter the first
stage of adult life. It was decided that he should go to North Carolina to
live and work in the new Moravian communities being constructed in
that distant state. With enthusiasm characteristic of youth, he turned his
'''Ibid. Quotation marks indicate a quotation within the document itself.
|<WI n/lmjUf- i
Map o/ Wachovia, 1766
1 he Moravian communities in North Carolina to which Gottlieb
Schober traveled came into existence primarily because the Brethren
wished to preach the Christian gospel among the Indians and settlers in
the Southern colonies. In the early 1750s the Brethren investigated the
possibilities of new settlements and were able to purchase from an
Englishman, John, Earl of Granville, a tract of 98,985 acres in the
backcountry of North Carolina. 1 In 1753, fifteen men from Pennsylvania
arrived in this wilderness which had been named Wachovia 2 and began
'Information on the North Carolina Moravian communities is contained in diaries
kept by the various ministers of the congregations as well as in minutes of the Elders'
Conference, the Board of Overseers, and the Congregation Council in Salem. There are
many manuscript volumes of these records, but an excellent selection has been published
in Adelaide L. Fries, Douglas L. Rights, Minnie J. Smith, and Kenneth G. Hamilton, eds.,
Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, 11 volumes, Raleigh: North Carolina
Historical Commission, 1922-1969), hereinafter cited as Fries and others, Records of
Moravians. Research in the original documents for this study has gone beyond these
published records. Those documents cited which are available in the Records of Moravi-
ans will be so indicated. Others are located in the Moravian Archives, Winston-Salem,
North Carolina cited as "Moravian Archives." The repository in Bethlehem, Pennsylva-
nia is cited as "Moravian Archives (Bethlehem)."
2 German: Wachau. The name was taken from one of Count Zinzendorf's ancestral
estates in Austria.
16 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
building the village of Bethabara. The first years in North Carolina were
not easy, but the arrival of more colonists increased Bethabara's popula-
tion and led to the establishment of a second village, Bethania, in 1759.
Hard work and honesty won the confidence of scattered neighbors who
were skeptical at first concerning these very religious people who spoke a
strange language. Moravians were in North Carolina to stay, and after
weathering the storms of the French and Indian War, they began in 1766
to construct a major town already named Salem.
While Bethabara and Bethania were designed from the beginning as
agricultural communities, Salem was to be primarily a regional trading
center with a relatively complex social and economic life. After locating
several sites, each with fertile soil, construction timber, and fresh water,
the Brethren left the final choice to God by use of the lot. 3 This practice
was reminiscent of the New Testament Church by which Moravians
believed that God would actively lead them in important decisions. After
options were examined to the extent of human intelligence, the Elders'
Conference would seek guidance by placing two or more possible answers
on slips of paper, asking the question in a prayer, and then drawing one of
the slips. This was considered God's will. In this manner the site for
Salem was determined. Plans were drawn and surveyors laid out a public
square, streets, and a graveyard. Workers commuting from Bethabara
cleared land and constructed houses for families and shops for the trades.
By 1769 a house for single brothers anchored the northwest corner of the
public square. Soon a congregation house was built opposite the square's
northeast corner, providing a hall for worship, living quarters for the
minister and his family, and a separate section designated as the single
sisters' house. 4 When Gottlieb Schober first saw Salem, it was already
bustling with people and excitement.
Young Schober arrived in North Carolina in the middle of these
happenings. A wagon rolled into Bethabara on 24 June 1769, carrying
Brother Samuel Stotz and four boys, Petrus Glotz, Martin Schneider,
Gottlieb Straele, and Gottlieb Schober. Church officials in Bethlehem had
assigned the boys to the Bethabara plantation, but it soon appeared "that
'Bethabara Diary, 14 February 1765, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 1:298.
See Edward Rondthaler, "The Use of the Lot in the Moravian Church," Salem's Remem-
brancers (Wins ton -Salem: Wachovia Historical Society, 1976), pp. 198-203.
4 Wachovia Memorabilia, 1769 and 1770, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
Growing Up in Wachovia • 17
some of their parents would like to have them in the trades." 5 After a
summer's work, Gottlieb was convinced that farming was not his calling;
even at thirteen he wrote a letter to Frederic W. Marshall, chief officer of
the congregation, asking to be assigned to a trade. 6 There is strong
evidence that his unhappiness was much deeper than simply the work to
which he was assigned. Later in life he recalled that at Bethabara he
became "very downcast concerning the future and wished to know what
was ahead, whether I would finally go to the blessed habitation." 7 He
realized that "my hot and stubborn head" continually created problems
because "I was always headstrong and where I believed right to be, I did
not yield regardless of the consequences." 8 But even then, Schober later
I was ever concerned to live for the Lord and I know he often made himself
known to me and afforded me abiding comfort. The first Elders' festival . . .
that I celebrated in Bethabara I shall never forget. From then on I could say
"The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want." 9
Before many months passed, the young boy's hopes were raised when
Gottfried Praezel asked the Elders for an apprentice to learn linen
weaving. Schober did not hesitate; on 12 March 1770 he prepared to
move from Bethabara to Salem and enter the house of the single brothers
to learn the trade of a weaver. 10 Already the talents of this youth had
caught the attention of the adults: "The little Schober played the cabinet
organ for the first time, for the singing of the liturgy 'O Head so full of
5 Minutes of the Elders' Conference of Bethabara, 28 June 1769, Moravian Archives.
The leader of this band of travelers, Stotz, became an important church official in the
community until his death in 1820. Glotz died in Salem two years after his arrival.
Schneider lived in Salem for many years, then moved to Friedberg where he died in 1806.
Straele moved to Salem, then back to Bethabara until his death in 1806.
6 Minutes of the Elders' Conference of Bethabara, 24 October 1769, Moravian
7 Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives. In the Moravian Church, it was
customary at a person's death to compose a short summary of his/her life. Basically this
was an obituary, not a memoir in the usual sense of the term. In Schober's case, some of the
material was written by him about 1815 when he thought he was about to die. It does,
therefore, contain useful information about his early years.
10 Wachovia Diary, 12 March 1770, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 1:411.
18 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
bruises.' " ll A small pipe organ had arrived in Wachovia in 1762; Schober
was one of several who had instruction on the instrument and was the
first of the young people to play for worship. This small event foresha-
dowed a lifetime of enjoyment and service to the church. In later years,
Schober became one of the better organists in Salem.
In moving from Bethabara to Salem, Schober entered the mainstream
of Moravian activity in North Carolina. Salem was a congregation-town,
consistently reflecting the Brethren's mission in North Carolina. A
permanent resident had to believe that "he has had a special call from the
Lord to live in that place, and that the Lord has brought him to this
people. . . ." n The church owned all land within a three-mile radius of
Salem, leasing lots to individuals on an annual basis. Some businesses in
the community, such as the tavern, store, tanyard, and pottery, were
owned by the congregation and operated for its benefit. Other trades were
assigned to individuals for private profit even though competition was
strictly controlled. The dominant social unit in Salem was still the family,
since most people lived in small homes. But a system of "choirs" —
groupings by age, sex, and marital status — supplemented the family. If
fully developed, a congregation had groups of little boys, little girls, older
boys, older girls, single men, single women, married people, widowers,
and widows. The groups met together for worship and religious instruc-
tion appropriate for their age and interests. 13 In some congregations, the
single brothers' choir, the single sisters' choir, or the widows' choir might
function as an economic unit, maintaining housekeeping and possessing
the right to engage in certain trades. When young Gottlieb Schober came
to Salem, he took up residence in the single brothers' house where the
linen weaving was located. Since Brother Praezel served also as business
manager for the choir, Schober's workday was full. In the apprenticeship
"Wachovia Diary, 2 March 1770, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 1:411.
12 Minutes of the Salem Heifer Conferenz, 30 November 1772, Fries and others,
Records of Moravians, l:!! 1 ). Hereinafter cited as Heifer Conferenz. In English transla-
tion, the group's title is misleading, so it is left in German. It was an advisory board of
ex-officio and elected members to observe and discuss matters to enhance the well-being
of the congregation. See Salem Diary, 27 April 1772, Fries and others, Records of
13 Adelaide L. Fries, Customs and Practices of the Moravian Church, revised edition,
(Winston-Salem: Board of Education and Evangelism, 1973), p. 53.
Growing Up in Wachovia • 19
agreement he promised to serve his master faithfully, obey instructions,
and behave respectfully. In return, Praezel provided clothing and necessi-
ties, paid the room and board expenses for his apprentice, amounting to
six shillings per week, and taught him the skill of weaving. 1 ' A work day
in the choir house began with morning prayers and concluded with
evening worship. When questions of spiritual growth and welfare arose a
choir spiritual adviser was available. But young boys and certainly teenag-
ers like Schober found time for activities other than work and worship.
Boyish pranks were mentioned in the records frequently. They chased the
community cats, had pillow fights with feathers flying, sneaked down-
stairs to ring the bell in the dead of night, and occasionally hid cockleburs
in the supervisor's bed. 15 Although associations with single sisters across
the square were strictly forbidden, both the young men and the young
women seemed to need the leisurely exercise of early evening strolls, and
Salem was a very small village.
Young Gottlieb probably participated in all these activities, but there
is some evidence that he was still not altogether happy. There was much
discussion in late 1772 of dissatisfaction among several apprentices.
Some wished to choose what work they would perform; others took extra
long lunch breaks. Some apprentices worked by the hour; others on piece
work gained extra leisure by finishing quickly. 16 This lack of consistency
threatened community order and upset some of the young workers. Was
Schober unhappy? Suddenly in May 1773, a letter arrived from Andreas
Schober in Bethlehem complaining heatedly that his son had been
apprenticed without the father's knowledge.
Brother Marshall replied to him that the boys from Bethlehem had been sent
to us at our expense, and with the recommendation that this [Elders]
conference should be as parents to them and help them in the learning of a
trade, which has been done in the most faithful manner according to our
congregational order. 1 "
14 Julius A. Lineback, "The Single Brethren's House of Salem, North Carolina," Salem's
Remembrancers (Winston-Salem: Wachovia Historical Society, 1976), p. 95.
15 Lineback, "The Single Brethren's House of Salem, North Carolina," p. 89.
16 Minutes of the Salem Board of Overseers, 1 December 1772, Moravian Archives.
Hereinafter cited as Board of Overseers.
17 Minutes of the Salem Elders' Conference, 18 May 1773, Moravian Archives. Herein-
after cited as Elders' Conference.
20 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Had young Schober written home? In an autobiographical sketch
written many years later, Gottlieb recalled his unhappiness and fears in
I was once frightened greatly about my [spiritual] condition. I was then
about seventeen years old and believed there was no help for me. I did not
cease weeping until the friend of sinners appeared to me as if I could take
hold of him and he spoke: "Peace." I was at the time half awake, half asleep,
but as I wanted to lay hold on him, there remained nothing but the peace that
filled the heart of the sinner with heavenly joy. Now it was settled. But alas!
only for a few days. The joy passed. Faith was demanded; love of sin showed
itself gradually again but always with anxiety. 18
Three weeks after his seventeenth birthday, Schober first partook of
Holy Communion. "I expected heavenly things, and prepared myself for
them. I believed that through prayer, singing, church going, etc. I would
become worthy of enjoying it." 19 But nothing happened. It was only when
"I came as a poor unworthy creature that my heart enjoyed what I cannot
describe." 20 The strong Moravian religious consciousness and expression
was becoming conspicuous in Schober's life. He struggled to determine
how he should use his life; he was inclined toward congregational service
in the ministry but unable to decide. Evidently, he received no encourage-
ment in this direction from church officials. Finally Schober determined
to serve the congregation in music while pursuing a livelihood by other
Until 1776 Gottlieb stayed with his loom, although at the same time
he also was learning the skills of the tailor. The authorities recognized his
unhappiness and reluctantly considered another apprenticeship. In April
he was bound for two years to Johann Christian Fritz in the leather goods
shop. There his tailoring experience helped him quickly to master the art
of making leather trousers and pouches which were in great demand.
Fritz expected to contract in the usual manner, but the Overseers advised
him to offer a salary. The final agreement gave the young apprentice ten
shillings weekly from which he had to pay his own room and board. The
usual suit of clothes at the conclusion of the contract was omitted. 21 Fritz
18 Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives.
21 Board of Overseers, 24 April 1776, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1083-
Growing Up in Wachovia • 21
soon recognized the abilities of his new helper; more and more he was
away from Salem on preaching missions, and before the contract expired,
Schober was doing much of the leather work for the community.
Despite his newfound maturity, Schober allowed his impetuousity to
involve him in one more boyish prank. In the fall of 1776, a fence was
built around the public square which irritated several of the men. They
argued that the gates were dangerous for the pregnant sisters of the
congregation. One morning the community awoke to find the gateposts
torn out and sections of the fence damaged. 22 Rumors pointed to several
of the young men but when the Overseers questioned some of them
privately, including young Schober, each vigorously professed innocence.
The matter was referred to the Elders' Conference, who declared that
unless "this Godless band" was discovered, they themselves would not
participate with the congregation in Holy Communion. The whispers
continued to implicate the young men, and finally on 12 November
The Elders' Conference assembled alone. The letter of Gottlieb Schober and
Rudolf Christ to the Conference was read. They confessed to their unseemly
behavior before the Board of Overseers and apologized . . . .[Martin]
Scheider [in a letter] confessed that he tore out the post and pedestals at both
gateways simply because there were so many complaints about them. 23
The Elders were doubly sorrowful. The prank, itself a subtle rebellion by
youth against community authority, had now led to blantant falsehoods
before the Overseers. Such behavior should not occur in Salem, and the
Elders' Conference discussed an upcoming celebration of Holy Commun-
ion. Should it be held, the Elders asked God in the lot? The slip of paper
drawn said "No." A boyish prank thus became a cause for community
Although an unhappy experience, the effect of the fence incident on
Gottlieb Schober was ultimately beneficial. He seemed genuinely
ashamed of his actions, especially his attempt to conceal his complicity
from community leaders. To make amends he concentrated in succeeding
months on learning the leather business, playing the organ, and substitut-
ing for Brother Fritz as teacher of the boys' school. This last activity
attracted Schober greatly. During his years in the single brothers' house,
drills on writing, arithmetic, and spelling helped him maintain the skills
"Elders' Conference, 5,8 November 1776, Moravian Archives.
23 Elders' Conference 12 November 1776, Moravian Archives.
22 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
he had mastered at Nazareth Hall. Now came a chance to expand his
abilities by teaching English, reading, and writing to the young boys while
Fritz was away on preaching trips. 24 As these trips became longer in 1778,
Schober assumed even more responsibility, soon establishing his ability
as a schoolmaster.
Despite Salem's relative calmness during Schober's youth, events
around the town were far from stable. The Revolution which had burst
upon the colonies in 1776 was rapidly enveloping the lives of all settlers
regardless of political inclination. The Moravian Church affirmed that a
person should not be forced to bear arms against his conscience, and
although all did not agree on this policy, the community united in
neutrality lest any be forced to compromise. Moreover, the Brethren
followed the Biblical admonition to obey constituted civil authority,
which at this time meant the royal government of England. But Moravian
neutrality was suspected by both loyalist and patriot. As a community,
Salem supported neither side, but helped both out of necessity. The
armies of Nathaniel Greene and Lord Cornwallis passed through Salem
in 1780, each demanding housing and food for men and horses. 25
Long before dusty and battle-worn armies walked the streets of
Salem, the realities of war had touched Gottlieb Schober and his commun-
ity. In a commercial village, a stable currency was imperative, but the
Revolution wrecked the economy. Moravians tried to equate paper cur-
rency and hard money but soon that paper flooded the community.
Moreover, they found themselves with fixed salaries within the commun-
ity and rising prices outside. By January 1778, the currency ratio outside
Salem was three and one-half to one and rapidly becoming worse. The
boards decided to increase the annual salaries of single brothers from
eight to fourteen pounds or four shillings per day. The price for the noon
meal was also raised and the one dissenting voice was squelched. 26 When
the single brothers returned to their house "such bickering broke out
especially among the boys born among us and recently received into the
single brothers' choir that we thought an evil spirit had descended upon
24 Elders' Conference, 8 November 1777, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians,
"Salem Diary, 21 April, 5,29 June, 1780, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
4:1536, 1542, 1549.
26 Salem Diary, 1 April 1778, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1225.
Growing Up in Wachovia • 23
them." 27 The next day, without warning, about a dozen young apprentices
walked away from their work, despite the admonitions of masters. Gott-
lieb Schober left his leather work in hopes that this strong protest would
cause church leaders to recognize the effect of currency devaluation on
wages. According to the congregation diary, the boys became "the
laughing-stock of the town," 28 but the Elders saw the walk-out as an
attempt to pressure community leaders. No compromise was offered; the
young men were "reproved and warned against rebelling against leaders
in conferences which the Lord had approved [by the lot] as constituted
authority." 29 The letters of apology expected from the young men were
slow in arriving. By 7 April five letters were in hand, but Gottlieb
Schober's did not come until the 10th. Three were still missing and must
have been received later, although the final conclusion of the matter did
not appear in the records.
There is no way to measure the effect of this experience upon
Schober. Definitely he learned that overt dissent would not effect change,
even when circumstances seemed to indicate a need. The penalties for
active disagreement were so clear and devastating as to debilitate internal
dissent. The spirit of American freedom which had inspired a declaration
of independence was considered inappropriate in the internal affairs of
That declaration led to another event which must have occupied
Schober's thoughts on sleepless nights for many years. On 8 November
1778 Captain Henry Smith of the Surry County militia drew four slips of
paper each bearing the name of an able-bodied Salem citizen eligible for
active service. The first one read: Gottlieb Schober. 30
Early in the war, the Provincial Assembly at Halifax had recognized
the Moravian refusal to bear arms and exempted them from service. By
1778 that easement was wavering. Brethren were subject to conscription
and were expected to serve or hire and equip substitutes. Church leaders
viewed the latter alternative as indirect service and informed military
authorities that "neither directly nor indirectly would we serve in the
"Elders' Conference, 3 April 1778, Moravian Archives.
28 Salem Diary, 2 April 1778, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1226.
29 Elders' Conference, 3 April 1778, Moravian Archives.
,0 Elders' Conference, 10 November 1778, Moravian Archives.
24 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
war." 31 When Schober heard his name called for a campaign to the south,
he must have experienced a momentary surge of excitement mixed with
fear. His own sympathies probably lay with the colonists since it would
have been inconsistent for the impulsive young man not to admire the
adventuresome spirit of the patriots and to yearn for the personal
freedom for which they fought. 32 But was he prepared to shoulder a rifle
and fire it at the enemy? Whether anticipation or fear dominated his
emotions, Gottlieb was spared the test. Once again the Brethren stood
united behind a principle; this time Schober was the beneficiary rather
than the culprit. With reluctance Captain Smith accepted a fine of
twenty-five pounds to exempt each of the four single brothers who were
drafted. 33 One hundred pounds was no small sum even for the entire
community when the average annual wage for a journeyman was four-
teen pounds; seventy-nine brothers were each assessed one pound, six
shillings to make up the total. No murmur was heard, and for once
Schober was likely grateful for the manner in which the Brethren stood
together. Thirty years later, the event was clear in his memory although
the details had faded. His friend Rudolph Christ signed the following
I do hereby certify that during the last war Gottlieb Schober was drafted to
serve a tour of duty and that Captain Smith who was then the captain for the
district was requested to hire a substitute for him, which he did and Schober
paid him the price agreed on. 34
When this was written in 1808, a wealthier Schober had forgotten
that a community assessment, not he alone, had covered the fine. The
twenty-five-pound fine would have almost equalled two years' total
wages of Schober as a journeyman leather craftsman.
31 Salem Diary, 24 May 1778, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1233.
32 It is impossible to determine conclusively Schober's political feelings. Open discus-
sion of the matter was discouraged since the congregation officially professed neutrality.
The older generation seemed to prefer English government, according to a contemporary
account written by Traugott Bagge. Most younger men evidently differed with their elders
and were more attracted to the concept of independence. See the manuscript of Traugott
Bagge, 1777, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1129-30.
33 Elders' Conference, 10 November 1778, Moravian Archives.
^Document in the Gottlieb Schober papers owned by Old Salem, Incorporated,
Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Hereinafter cited as "Schober Papers, Old Salem Incor-
Growing Up in Wachovia • 25
If the Brethren did not complain of the assessment for Schober's
benefit, within a few months some likely questioned the wisdom of their
efforts. Just before being conscripted and at the age of twenty-one,
Gottlieb became a free man. The apprenticeship under Johann Fritz
expired, and Schober could ask the wages of a journeyman. It was agreed
that for every pair of leather breeches completed, he would receive eight
shillings, while other work continued to earn him four shillings per day. 35
The incentive of piece work enabled Schober to capitalize on his own
industry and initiative. Before long the new freedom began to cause
problems. First, Schober requested to work in the choirhouse rather than
at Fritz's house because the latter was away so often and the change would
better facilitate the supervision of the boy's school. Within a month, the
true reason appeared. Fritz complained that when he assigned Schober
work, the young man was already busy because he had accepted extra
work from outsiders. 36 This practice was strictly forbidden by community
regulations. In order that every person could earn a living, a trade was
assigned to one master; and all who practiced that trade worked as
journeymen under him. For making a pair of leather breeches, Schober
received two-thirds of the retail price and Fritz one-third. According to
Fritz, Schober was circumventing this arrangement by accepting orders
himself. Moreover, the quality of Schober's work had deteriorated badly,
Fritz reported, so that the trousers had to be sold at discount.
The Board of Overseers listened also to the journeyman's side of the
story. Fritz only allowed him to make two pair of breeches per week,
Schober testified, and that gave him a smaller salary than most journey-
men and left too much free time. The Board concluded that fault lay on
both sides. Fritz was told to assign three pair of trousers per week, while
Schober was admonished to produce quality work and to refuse direct
dealings with outsiders. 37 Within two months relations between the
master and his journeyman were again strained. The same charges and
countercharges were aired again before the Overseers. It soon became
obvious that the strong personalities of Fritz and Schober hampered
cooperation. The master's increasing absence from town on preaching
"Board of Overseers, 6 May 1778, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1260.
}6 Board of Overseers, 7 July 1779, Moravian Archives.
"Board of Overseers, 14 July 1779, Moravian Archives.
26 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
trips allowed Schober too much flexibility so that the latter's initiative
Fortunately, the impasse was resolved when Fritz was called as
minister and teacher of a new congregation that was organized in the
southwest corner of Wachovia. 38 Schober immediately suggested to the
that he himself take over the leather goods shop and that he take on
[Johann] Nilson as journeyman. He thinks he can then make enough money
with his profession. There was no objection except that if another master
should come or if Brother Fritz should return, Schober would be a journey-
man as before. 39
The move of Brother Fritz from Salem to Hope congregation opened
still another opportunity for Schober. The young man had frequently
watched over the school for larger boys while Fritz traveled and preached.
Assumption of the entire teaching responsibility was more than Schober
wanted, but when Christian Heckewalder agreed to take the older youths,
an opening was created in the school for little boys. Schober could manage
this responsibility and continue his leather work. "As to his fitness for the
school, we have no doubts. We asked by the lot, 'Should we consider
Gottlieb Schober as teacher for the small boys?' We received 'yes'." 40
Early in January 1780, Schober became the teacher of about nine little
boys. School was held six days a week beginning at eight in the morning
when parents brought their youngsters to the single brothers' house in
time for an opening hymn. The day was spent in basic instruction and
practice in reading and writing, with meager beginnings in arithmetic.
Some time was occupied in religious instruction, and when the minister
visited the school he urged the boys "to be true in heart, and daily renew
their baptismal covenant with the Savior." 41 Excepting a two hour break
at midday, work continued until four or five o'clock when the teacher
delivered his pupils either to home or to congregational worship. 42 The
38 This congregation, organized in 1780, was named Hope.
39 Board of Overseers, 11 January 1780, Moravian Archives.
40 Elders' Conference, 29 December 1779, Moravian Archives. The little boys' choir
consisted of children ranging from five or six years of age to about twelve. The older boys
were from twelve to seventeen years old.
■"Salem Diary, 31 August 1780, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 4:1562.
42 Salem Diary, 10 January 1780, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 4:1521;
Elders' Conference, 8 January 1780, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 4:1581.
Growing Up in Wachovia • 21
tuition of the school was four shillings per month, which made Schober's
salary rather small. The leather work helped, and by April Gottlieb was
made the master of the leather goods trade and given Nilson as a
journeyman. After a month of instruction, Nilson would be salaried and
could help Schober meet the leather needs of the town. 43 There was no
lack of demand and under this arrangement Schober could profit from the
labor of his subordinate. Unfortunately, the arrangement was short-lived.
By summer, Nilson's fondness for whiskey emerged. Despite the
efforts of Schober and others, matters steadily deteriorated so that soon
Nilson was asked to leave Salem. 44 The master of leather goods again
faced financial straits, and the school work became even more demanding
when Heckewalder went to Pennsylvania. Schober then assumed respon-
sibility for the older boys and was assigned Martin Schneider as an
assistant. Unable to spend time with his leather, Schober was forced to
apply for a salary supplement of eight shillings per week. He still felt
himself financially pressed and decided to try reducing his expenses for
raw materials. Immediately, a storm descended.
It will be necessary to remind Brother Schober that he must stop all his
negotiating. He should rather make his living from his trade and from the
school. . . . We think that he should not buy deerskin in the rough, but that he
should leave that business to the white tannery and the store. He also must
not swap all different kinds of articles for payment; but should send people
who want to sell and swap to the right place. 45
With this declaration, there was initiated a running conflict between
community authorities and Schober which continued, sometimes muted,
sometimes loud and bitter, for forty-five years. The Brethren were per-
sistent in their prohibition of open competition, since allowing a free
market would encourage the profit motive to become an end rather than a
means. Time after time the people were admonished to be industrious
and faithful in their work, "laying aside all desire for convenience or
profit which would impair or spoil their work." 46 This monopolistic
system effectively guaranteed every willing worker a living wage while
other sanctions guarded against laziness or an unwillingness to work. The
43 Board of Overseers, 4, 11 April 1780, Moravian Archives.
44 Board of Overseers, 28, 30 September 1780, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
45 Board of Overseers, 6 February 1781, Moravian Archives.
46 Board of Overseers, 15 April 1772, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 2:695.
28 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
system afforded Moravians maximum efficiency in supporting those
engaged full time in teaching and preaching in the area. 47 Schober
accepted this arrangement in principle, but in practice he was not always
cooperative. In the case of the deerskins, Schober reluctantly conformed
to the demands of the Overseers. He was encouraged to take another
apprentice and was offered Jacob Meyer. But after a week's trial, Schober
concluded that the boy was too young to learn the leather business. 48 The
school salary was reinstated, and Gottlieb struggled along as best he could
through the winter.
With the coming of spring, 1782, Schober gained permission to visit
his family in Pennsylvania. Young Gottlieb had not seen his father and
mother for twelve years. He had left Bethlehem as an adolescent and now
returned an articulate individual full of ideas and ambitions. Physically,
the little boy had become a man. Inferring from an adult portrait, Schober
was of medium height and somewhat slight of build. His nose was rather
long, serving to attract attention to dark, intense eyes which captured and
held the attention of those around him. Andreas and Hedwig Schober
would scarcely have recognized their son had they not known of his
coming. It must have been a happy occasion for the family. For Gottlieb, it
was a chance to share problems and concerns with kinfolk who could
understand the frustrations of a dedicated but ambitious young man.
Gottlieb would certainly have discussed with his father the financial
pressure he was experiencing and perhaps his ideas for a change of
profession. In any case, within two months of Gottlieb's return to Wacho-
via he was again involved in a new venture.
During the trip to Bethlehem, Schober escaped a sharp reprimand
directed generally at Salem's young men. It seems that some of the
younger generation came out with ruffs and leggings, immediately
prompting the Congregation Council to declare that
dress fashions, especially among our young people, should be prevented as
much as possible. The tailor can contribute much to this. Anyone who lives
47 The congregation granted monopolies to individuals in the minor professions, but
reserved for the community treasury (Ger. Diacony) monopolies in the more profitable
enterprises such as the tavern, pottery, and the store. In addition to paying salaries to
persons who preached and taught, the treasury covered general community expenses,
such as the nightwatchman's salary, and special projects like the water system which
piped fresh spring water to the town from a source several miles distant. Firefighting
equipment was purchased by the treasury after the tavern burned in 1784.
48 Board of Overseers, 6, 13 September 1781, Moravian Archives.
Growing Up in Wachovia • 29
in our community should show by his clothes that he is a Brother. Other
people can wear their clothes as fancy as they wish. 49
Schober was not the community tailor, but he definitely possessed
those skills. He tended to be a free spirit as a youth and was known in later
years to appreciate the ruffled shirt front. It is more than possible that
some of the fancy outfits came from his hand and more than probable that
he wore them. Church leaders adamantly maintained that a true brother
"must not put his pride in dressing up," lest he be "carried away from
[his] actual mission in the Lord." 50 Perhaps the temporary absence of
Gottlieb at this time was a fortunate turn of events.
When Schober returned to Salem, events which usually evolve slowly
in the lives of most people developed at a dizzying pace. Evidently
Gottlieb decided that he would never advance himself as a schoolmaster.
When the position of assistant clerk in the community store opened, he
immediately asked for the job. The Overseers granted his request, and by
late August 1782, Schober was a salesman.
The store position posed for Schober an interesting set of possibili-
ties. He would labor under the supervision of Traugott Bagge, a promi-
nent community leader generally recognized as relatively wealthy by
Salem standards. 51 The exact nature of Bagge's financial arrangement is
unknown. Some managers of community enterprises worked for a salary
and then in addition received a percentage of profits above a certain level.
Since the store was the source of many articles needed in the community,
its profits were consistent in Salem's early years. This could account for
Bagge's personal prosperity. Equally important, his frequent contact with
outsiders may have given him knowledge of good investment opportuni-
ties. Or perhaps he just managed his personal affairs well. In any case,
Schober was keenly aware of how well the store experience had treated
49 Minutes of the Salem Congregation Council, 1 May 1782, Moravian Archives.
Hereinafter cited as Congregation Council.
''"Congregation Council, 30 May 1782, Moravian Archives. A few years later the
Brethren were more specific concerning prohibited modes of dress. Among the men, they
censured waistcoats with short sleeves or without sleeves, fine pleated shirts with silver
shirt buttons, scarlet waistcoats, big buttons, and boots with tops made to hang down.
Sisters were not to wear high heels on the shoes and ribbons on the sleeves. Heifer
Conferenz, 1 February 1787, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2178.
5 'Traugott Bagge was born in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1729. He came to Wachovia in
1768 and was Salem's only store manager until his death in 1800.
30 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Bagge, and he himself was not immune to the hope of prosperity.
Perhaps he imagined Bagge would in a few years be offered the manager-
ship of the Bethlehem store, leaving his assistant as an experienced heir
to the top position in Salem. Even if he remained an assistant the
assignment included some management responsibilities with the branch
store in Bethabara. His work would involve frequent trips to Cross Creek
(later renamed Fayetteville), Charleston, and Philadelphia purchasing
supplies and making new friends. Most important of all, Schober's travel
would reveal to him first hand the kinds of business activities and
opportunities that were occurring in the cities and towns of America. It
would be valuable experience.
With these considerations in mind, the decision to join Bagge in the
store was not difficult at all. The salary was set at £60 annually plus free
living quarters. 52 Even in the days of inflated currency, the arrangement
was the best Schober had known. But his situation changed so quickly that
he never knew any financial relief. The 1782 minutes of the Elders'
Conference told the story dramatically.
November 28: Circumstances in the store here and in Bethabara demand
that Brother Schober be married. We received in the lot that the Saviour
approves that we propose to Brother Schober that he marry Single Sister
Elizabeth Dixon ....
December 2: Brother Schober did not accept the proposal that he marry
Sister Elizabeth Dixon. He proposed Sister Maria Transou. The Saviour
approved this in the lot ... .
December 4: Sister Maria Magdalena Transou has accepted the proposal to
marry Brother Schober. . . , 53
On 17 December they were wed.
"Elders' Conference, 21 August 1782, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 4:1806.
"Elders' Conference, 28 November, 2, 4 December 1782, Moravian Archives.
Maria Magdalena Schober (1758-1833)
and the Search
Laria magdalena schober reflected on the events which had so
rapidly changed her life. Only a few weeks ago she had lived and worked
in the single sisters' house as a member of that choir. Then Brother
Frederich Peter spoke the words which formalized her marriage to
Gottlieb Schober. In that ceremony the pink ribbon of a single sister that
had tied her white linen cap for religious occasions was replaced with the
light blue ribbon of the married people's choir. 1 Perhaps also her
thoughts returned to earlier years.
Although Maria Schober had lived in Salem less than three years, she
was essentially a child of Wachovia. She was born in Friedensthal, near
Nazareth, Pennsylvania, on 18 June 1758, the daughter of Philip and
Magdalena Transou. 2 As a child of four, she moved with her parents to
Wachovia, settling in the new community of Bethania. Her memories of
'These events are inferred from accounts of other marriages among Wachovia
Moravians. For example, see Bethabara Diary, 1, 2 March 1772, Fries and others, Records
of Moravians, 2:730.
2 Philip Transou was born 2 October 1 724 at Mutterstadt in the Palatinate. He came to
America at seven years of age with his parents and grew up in Pennsylvania. He joined
with Moravians in Bethlehem in 1745 and ten years later married Magdalena Gander. In
1762 they moved to Wachovia, settling in Bethania where Philip worked as a farmer and
wagonmaker. Transou was known as a kind man and affectionate husband and father. At
34 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
the journey to North Carolina were primarily the result of hearing her
parents tell the story of the passage by sea. According to them, a company
of fifteen Moravians — three couples, four single sisters, a widow, a single
brother, and three children — left Bethlehem on 20 April 1762. 3 Maria
was almost four years old; her brothers were six and one. The group
traveled to Philadelphia where they boarded the sloop "Elizabeth" for the
voyage to Wilmington, North Carolina. The group saw themselves as
especially protected by God's providence, when, on the first day, Sister
Transou narrowly escaped serious injury from a discarded iron pin which
fell from the mainsail and grazed Maria's mother's head.
When the ship finally reached open water, the passengers became so
seasick that some yearned even for a bumpy wagon. On 4 May an
unseasonably cold wind and rain lashed waves across the decks, wetting
everything above and below.
Nothing worried us as much as the poor children, who had to stay in the
dark, wet hold all day, with nothing warm to eat, and those who took care of
them could hardly hold up their own heads on account of seasickness and the
tossing of the sloop. 4
Despite the security of a mother's arms, it must have been terribly
frightening for four-year-old Maria. If she remembered anything of the
trip, it was that day.
On 12 May the "Elizabeth" crossed Frying Pan Shoals and entered the
Cape Fear River. The next day the ship made anchor at Wilmington, and
plans for the river journey were arranged. After traveling up the Cape
Fear by flatboat, battling huge mosquitoes all the while, the company
times he was severely ill with gout, ultimately weakening him and causing his death on 19
April 1793. See his memoir, Moravian Archives.
Magdalena Transou, nee Gander, was born 18 February 1729 in the Palatinate. She
moved with her parents to Pennsylvania in 1738. Her mother died on the voyage and her
father bound her to a man who treated her harshly. Later the father redeemed her and she
ultimately became associated with the Moravians in Bethlehem about 1747. After her
marriage in 1755, she moved with her husband to Wachovia. She lived her last years in
Salem with her children and died 12 November 1803. See her memoir, Moravian
3 This summary of the Transou's journey is taken from a travel diary probably written
by the group's leader, John Michael Graff. Significant portions are translated in Fries and
others. Records of Moravians, 1: 255-63.
4 "Diary of the Colony which on April 20, 1762, set out from Bethlehem, by way of
Philadelphia and Wilmington, to Bethabara in the Wachau," 4 May 1762, Fries and
others, Records of Moravians, 1: 257.
A Family and the Search for Security • 35
finally reached a landing below Cross Creek where they welcomed the
sight of Bethabara wagons ready to take them to Wachovia.
Maria's father was a farmer and planned to settle in the new commun-
ity of Bethania. The land there was fertile and had quickly attracted a
population of seventy-two persons by 1762. In this community Maria
lived until her twenty-first year, when her father forwarded to the Salem
Elders' Conference her request to move. As required by a new regulation
from the last Unity Synod in Europe, her request needed the approval of
the lot, a requirement which confirmed the Brethren's belief "that we do
not so much care for a great quantity of brethren in Salem, but more for
their quality." 5 An affirmative lot brought Sister Maria Transou to the
single sisters' house in Salem on 10 February 1780.
The single sisters of Salem lived in the second story of the congrega-
tion meeting hall which was designated the single sisters' "house." About
twenty-seven sisters and older girls shared several sleeping halls at night
and worked together in the day weaving linen and cotton, dying and
spinning yarn, making buckskin gloves, and laundering. For her labor,
each received a salary of three shillings per day and paid a board fee of six
shillings per week. 6 According to its regulations, the choir was to be
a garden of the Holy Ghost, where he may produce people for all kinds of
service; it may be for marriage or for service in the Choir, among children, or
in families, or as Choir Sisters passing their days in quiet and union of heart
with the Friend of their soul, thinking with deep interest on the things of the
Lord, and praying for them."
The strength and reputation of the choirs of the single men and
women offered a fulfilling concept of life without the necessity of mar-
riage. But neither male or female was discouraged from the latter state if
they so desired. Moravians viewed marriage as a spiritual institution,
designed to enhance the relationship of men and women to God. The
Elders' Conference sought the guidance of God in considering proposed
marriage unions, and, reaching the limits of human discernment, they
looked for God's blessing as indicated in an affirmative lot. Then the
individuals were consulted. According to one Moravian writer, the Elders'
Congregation Council, 10 February 1780, Moravian Archives.
6 Salem Diary, 13 May 1778, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1231.
Principles of the Single Sisters' Choir, quoted in Adelaide L. Fries, "History of the
Single Sisters' House, Salem NC." (Typescript, Moravian Archives), p. 32.
36 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
Conference conferred with individuals before using the lot, but the
records do not substantiate this as a predominant practice. 8 In any case,
before or after an affirmative lot, either person could decline a proposal
and the matter would end. For example, in late 1781 Sister Transou was
given the proposal of marriage to Matthew Oesterlein — a proposal
initiated by him to the Elders' Conference and approved by them and by
God through the lot — but "after careful consideration she . . . declined the
proposal." 9 A year later she accepted the proposal to marry Gottlieb
The newlywed couple set up housekeeping in a small dwelling origi-
nally built by Christian Gottlieb Reuter in 1771, and located on the
southwest corner of Main and West Streets. 10 With the store just next
door, the house was ideal for the new assistant clerk. The Elders' Confer-
ence regretted losing Schober as a teacher and complimented his work
with the declaration that the little boys "have progressed so far that they
can read English with the older ones." 11 They also expected good things
to result from Schober's new responsibility and recognized his additional
financial needs by giving him an extra fifteen pounds per year in
exchange for the store's assuming the retail sales of leather breeches.
While the new store duties kept Gottlieb busy, he always found time
to participate in Salem's musical activities. One such opportunity was the
signing of the peace treaty terminating the war and assuring the inde-
pendence of Americans. The congregation was grateful for the prospect
of peace and, upon learning of Governor Alexander Martin's proclama-
tion that 4 July 1783 would be a "Day of Solemn Thanksgiving to
8 A marriage proposal could be initiated by an individual to the Elders' Conference or
by the Elders' Conference itself. Regardless of the source, a negative decision of the
Conference was final. If the Conference approved and God's blessing was given through
the lot, either person could accept or decline the proposal. See, for example, Elders'
Conference, 5, 12 December 1781, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 4: 1737-38. See
also Edward Rondthaler, "The Use of the Lot in the Moravian Church," Salem 's Remem-
brancers, pp. 198-203.
'Elders' Conference, 12 December 1781, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
10 Reuter's widow, Anna Catherina, later marriedjohann C. Heinzmann and the house
was known by his surname. Eventually the house was purchased by John Vogler and
moved to the back of the lot so he could build a two-story dwelling on the corner.
"Elders' Conference, 18 December 1782, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
A Family and the Search for Security • 37
Almighty God," immediately began preparations for the celebration of
the independence of Americans. The Governor's proclamation required
all Ministers of the Gospel of every Denomination to convene their congre-
gations [on the 4th of July next], and deliver to them Discourses suitable to
the important occasion, recommending in general the practice of Virtue and
true Religion as the great foundation of private blessing as well as National
happiness and prosperity. 12
Salem's celebration was therefore a day of religious Thanksgiving.
Men, women, and children gathered in the congregation house during the
morning hours for a worship service featuring a sermon on Psalm 46 and
the Te Deum. The afternoon was given to a community Lovefeast and an
elaborate program of music. The evening program featured a liturgy of
thanksgiving and praise. 13 Schober was involved in the musical program,
probably playing the organ for at least one of the services. Musicians for
the day were unidentified, but the program called for organ, flutes and
horns, brasses led by trombones, and two violins, a viola, a cello, and a
The remainder of 1783 passed quietly for Schober, marked only by a
trip late in the year to Charleston, South Carolina, to buy goods for the
store. But the following year was a memorable one. One of the fearsome
hazards of eighteenth-century living was fire. In cold weather, the open
fireplaces and ceramic stoves posed a threat to every building. Salem was
fortunate in its earliest years probably because of strict fire regulations.
But on 31 January 1784, the tavern burned to the ground. It was a tragedy
which not only cost the community financially, but also struck a note of
fear in every heart. Since the tavernkeeper Jacob Meyer and his family had
no roof, it was decided that the Schobers would move into a part of Tycho
Nissen's house so that the Meyers could have the Reuter house. The move
was especially hard on Maria because she was expecting a child. But the
^Proclamation of Alexander Martin, 18 June 1783, Moravian Archives.
13 Elders' Conference, 2 July 1783, Moravian Archives. Adelaide L. Fries argues con-
vincingly that the first celebration of July 4th occurred in Salem. North Carolina was the
only state to proclaim 4 July 1783 as a day of thanksgiving and Moravians were the only
group known to have planned a special celebration. See Adelaide L. Fries, "An Early
Fourth of July Celebration," Journal of American History 9 (July 1915): 469-74.
14 For more detail see Marilyn Gombasi, A Day of Solemn Thanksgiving: Moravian
Music for the Fourth of July, 1783, in Salem, North Carolina (Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1977).
38 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
new house was likely nicer and warmer and was the scene of celebration
when Gottlieb wrote on 2 May 1784, "In the morning, at half past three
o'clock, God gave us a son. Brother Benzien baptized him with the name
of Nathaniel." 15 Mother and child were well and healthy, and the dawn of
the new day was a time of rejoicing.
The expanding family of the Schobers called for a new arrangement
so that Gottlieb decided to build a house. He was interested in the lot
across from the southeast corner of the square at the joining of West and
Church streets. The lot was just across from the Nissen house and beside
the dwelling of Traugott Bagge. It was a prime location because it faced
the public square along with the congregational buildings and the choir
houses. 16 Since he and Maria began housekeeping "in poverty," according
to his memoir, he was unable to finance the construction entirely, but
gained permission to borrow 150 pounds from the store. At first a log
structure of one story was proposed, but later Schober changed to brick
and added sleeping rooms in the attic. It measured thirty-two by twenty-
nine feet. Springtime seemed a good time for him to be away from the
store, so on 1 February 1785, Schober signed a lease for his lot and
construction plans were finalized. 17 The lease extended for twelve
months "and so from year to year, as long as both the said parties shall
please . . ." at an annual rent of ten shillings, eight pence in hard money.
Schober retained the right to sell his improvements to anyone "qualified
to possess, and with his Family to live in a House at Salem" who was also
approved by the directing boards. If the congregation terminated the
lease it promised to purchase the improvements should a suitable buyer
not be found. Any disagreement on value would be resolved by arbitra-
tors. 18 Most North Carolinians of that time would have seriously ques-
tioned the wisdom of investing in buildings on land which could only be
leased. But for Schober and Salem Moravians the arrangement worked
15 A leaf pasted in Gottlieb Schober's Bible recorded the birth and baptism of each of
his children. Gottlieb Schober Papers, Moravian Archives.
16 Construction of the single sisters' house was already planned on the northeastern
corner of the square, east of Church Street, but was delayed until the new tavern was
17 Board of Overseers, 4 January 1785, Moravian Archives. The lot measured eighty-
five feet east and west by 132 feet north and south.
18 Copy of lease agreement between Gottfried Praezel, Salem Warden and Gottlieb
Schober, 1 February 1785, Schober Papers, Old Salem Archives.
A Family and the Search for Security • 39
well; it gave the community an effective method by which to control the
realization of Salem's ultimate purpose, yet it provided for equitable
settlement in case a citizen departed. Schober was happy to have his plans
approved 19 and to see Salem's leading mason, Gottlob Krause, hard at
work. But progress lagged. The sisters' house was going up across the
street, and some workers were involved in both projects. Schober soon
experienced the frustration of delays and was slightly scolded forgiving
too many drinks to the workmen. It was unclear whether he was trying to
keep the workers at his place or to attract them back across the street. As
the summer grew hotter, tempers also rose. Both Schober and Krause
were temperamental men given to outbursts of anger, and on 29 June it
was reported that
Schober and Gottlieb Krause have had such a severe altercation on the
building scaffold that our reputation as a people of God suffered greatly.
That in consequence they remain away from Holy Communion is under-
stood, but we considered what further steps must be taken in the matter,
particularly since Krause expressed himself so very unseemly against the
The disagreement could have occurred over wages which Krause
received. Three years earlier, the request of Krause and several others for
an increase in wages to offset inflation had been denied. 21 In mid-June,
during the construction of Schober's house and the sisters' house, he
further expressed dissatisfaction with his masonry trade in the town.
Again the boards advised him to continue. The actual circumstances
leading to the fight were not recorded, but evidence would suggest an
unhappy worker who was not as careful of the quality of his work as his
employer expected. Perhaps Schober expected too much. In any case the
matter was viewed as serious, since it challenged the community eco-
nomic management and order. A hearing before the Overseers led to a
most revealing comment by the Elders:
19 Plans of all buildings required the approval of the Overseers prior to the beginning
of construction. The Overseers viewed the size of the dwelling in relation to a family's
anticipated needs and the ability to pay for the structure without excessive debt.
20 Elders' Conference, 29 June 1785, Moravian Archives.
2 'Congregation Council, 28 October 1782, Moravian Archives.
40 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
In the congregation a spirit has become evident which seeks to have Ameri-
can freedom. This should be taken up in Congregation Council and tho-
roughly investigated, so that so dangerous a thing may be put away from us. 22
The discussion proposed for the Congregation Council probably
occurred immediately, but no record was kept. Moravians were very
sensitive concerning their reputation in the surrounding area. Many
people were jealous of their obvious prosperity and would be happy to
discredit them. Only by an act of the General Assembly in 1782 was the
title to Wachovia cleared from possible confiscation. 23 So soon after this
victory the Brethren could not afford tales of public fistfights among
members of the congregation. Consequently, Schober and Krause were
fortunate to escape with only a sharp reprimand.
Construction continued on the Schober residence, and finally in
October moving day arrived. It was a happy Gottlieb and Maria, who,
with sixteen-month-old Nathaniel, spent the night of 14 October 1785
under their own roof. 24
The Schober dwelling cost 356 pounds to build. In addition to his
savings, Gottlieb borrowed heavily from the store, and thus the financial
pressure increased. During the fall of 1785, relations between Schober
and Traugott Bagge deteriorated steadily. The exact problem was never
mentioned, but it probably involved Gottlieb's salary and his work. He
was dissatisfied with his financial progress, but he knew that the demand
for leather products, especially breeches, was declining because the store
had a sizeable inventory. 25 So his sharp eye spotted another craft which
22 Elders' Conference, 6 July 1785, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2096. The
fact that this comment comes as a result of the Schober-Krause altercation is not explicit
in the published records but is quite clear in the original manuscript. Emphasized words
are in the original.
2i When the Moravians purchased Wachovia, the deeds were placed in the name of an
Englishman, James Hutton, in trust for the Unitas Fratrum. After the Confiscation Act of
1777 declared land vacant which was owned by Englishmen, neighbors around Salem
began filing claims on Wachovia land. The deeds had by this time already been transferred
to Wachovia's administrator, Frederic William Marshall, but there remained a question of
whether a power of attorney had been properly registered. See discussion of Mulberry
Fields case in Chapter 5. Since a court decision favoring dispossession of the Moravians
was possible, action by the General Assembly was necessary.
24 Salem Diary, 14 October 1785, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2087.
"Board of Overseers, 8 February 1785, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
A Family and the Search for Security • 41
promised a healthier income. The demand for tinware in Salem was
substantial, causing Schober in December 1785, to ask to establish
himself as a tinsmith. 26 That product, he felt, in addition to the leather
business, would provide a livelihood. The directing boards were sorry to
lose his services in the store, and even offered him complete charge of the
Bethania store, but Gottlieb declined. 27 His request was granted with the
clear restriction that he could retail only the goods which he made; under
no circumstances was he to bring finished items into Salem, thus acting as
a community store. The boards also approved his request to borrow an
additional fifty pounds from a non-Moravian neighbor named Mazinger
for the establishment of the trade. 28 Years later, Schober reflected upon
In spite of all hinderances, I was unwearied and fortunate. If I suffered loss
here and there, I saw plainly that it served for my best so that worldly
treasure should not be my chief purpose. After my kind of effort, that could
happen only too easily. 29
From this time until his death, Schober worked "on his own account."
His business expertise needed a degree of freedom and flexibility; during
the next ten years he was entirely absorbed with business dealings and the
development of financial security.
Schober organized his business affairs carefully. Since he himself
planned to concentrate on tinware, an apprentice for the leather work
would be a good investment. In February 1786, Schober took a young boy,
Johannes Steinmann, into the leather trade. 30 The youngster attended
school in the morning and spent the remainder of his time with his new
master. This arrangement was perfect for Schober to develop his craft in
tinware. Most tinware in Salem was very utilitarian in design and manu-
facture. The American tinsmith of this period generally tended to be
unoriginal in his craft. Seldom did he develop new styles or shapes but
26 Board of Overseers, 13 December 1785, Moravian Archives.
27 Elders' Conference, 30 November 1785, Moravian Archives.
28 Board of Overseers, 13 December 1785, Moravian Archives.
29 Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives.
30 Elders' Conference, 15 February 1786, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
42 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
usually contented himself with meeting the popular demand. 31 After
1750, tin items became especially useful in the kitchen, rapidly replacing
utensils of iron, pewter, and wood. The process of applying tin to thin
sheets of iron was perfected in England; most American tin was shipped
across the Atlantic in 9x12- or 12xl8-inch sheets. 32 The tinsmith used
handtools for cutting and shaping the thin sheets and on many articles
inserted stiff wire under rolled edges for strength. A good tinsmith could
offer a multitude of merchandise: pans for baking and roasting; molds for
stuffing sausage and making candles; collanders, graters, measures, and
cake cutters; coffee and tea pots with cups for drinking; lanterns, candle-
sticks, sconces, and snuffers; and even specialty items such as mouse-
traps. 33 When Gottlieb applied all his energy to a task, he learned quickly.
By July he advised the Overseers that he could now provide Salem's tin-
ware needs and that the store should stop selling it. The community es-
tablishment complied, but soon the true motive of Schober's arrange-
ment became evident. Complaints were lodged with the Overseers that
was trying to establish a small shop in addition to his trade; that he had
recently brought in snuff boxes, silver shirt-buttons, and knives for sale; that
he had ordered chocolate for sale; that he had offered to order all kinds of
things for the Brethren and Sisters; that he had approached people on the
streets who had brought tallow and wax to town, and had offered a higher
price than was being paid by others, whereby the price of those articles was
raised; and that he planned to export those things. 34
The same week, the Heifer Conferenz discussed the problem in
general and concluded:
It must be understood that a Brother who is a craftsman shall abide by his
business, and not indulge in trading and chaffering. ... A man is more
blessed when he follows his calling faithfully and industriously. A man who
tries too many things and mixes in matters which do not concern his
business, loses his sense of order and becomes restless under steady work;
and his business goes backwards. 35
3 'William L. Warren, "Foreword," in Shirley S. DeVoe, The Tinsmiths of Connecticut
(Middletown CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1968), p. xviii.
32 DeVoe, The Tinsmiths of Connecticut, p. 36.
33 DeVoe, The Tinsmiths of Connecticut, pp. 61-85.
34 Board of Overseers, 7 November 1786, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
'"''Heifer Conferenz, 2 November 1786, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
A Family and the Search for Security • 43
Schober was summoned to respond to the charges and describe his
general purpose. At a special meeting of the Overseers, Gottlieb asserted
that he had ordered tin from Philadelphia, but the buyer who had carried
the order could find none and he had bought a number of other things
instead. He produced the invoice which showed the articles not related to
his trade, saying that people in town had ordered them. "From what he
said, however, it was evident that he had gone around the town and had
solicited the orders." 36 He denied raising the price for tallow but admitted
he paid a penny more per pound for beeswax . He maintained that he
could ship it to Pennsylvania more safely than money and there exchange
it for tin.
After hearing this explanation, the Overseers directed Schober to
cease his trading and concentrate only in tinware and breeches. He was to
transfer the other items he possessed to the store to settle the thirty-five
pounds still owed on his house. The decision of the Overseers was not
satisfactory to Schober although there was no official record of his
response. Evidently, he just sulked and did nothing. A month later
Traugott Bagge complained to the Overseers
about the rude behavior of Schober upon his question concerning the
payment of thirty pounds owed to the store. Schober did not give him any
answer except bad words. We thought it necessary to talk to Schober about
that in the Collegium and called him. He answered that he was still in such a
rage that it would be better not to call him today because it would be useless.
The Collegium let him alone for that day. 37
A week later it was still considered best that Schober not be sum-
moned before the whole board and two members were asked to talk with
him privately. By the first of January, a note came to Bagge from Schober
apologizing for his conduct and promising the money as soon as
In this matter, Schober was clearly in violation of congregational
regulations. The ordering of items in the mercantile category belonged
exclusively to the community store. Trading in raw materials unrelated to
a profession was also prohibited. Schober did have a point that it was
safer to transport beeswax than money, but his argument was weak. More
}6 Board of Overseers, 18 November 1786, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
37 Board of Overseers, 22 December 1786, Moravian Archives.
38 Board of Overseers, 2 January 1787, Moravian Archives.
44 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
important to him than safety was the probability of extra profit in trading
beeswax in Philadelphia. Schober's seemingly excessive anger over this
reprimand was likely because it presented a major snag in his plans. From
the very beginning, he probably planned more business than converting
sheet tin into utilitarian kitchen utensils. Tinware gave him a highly
marketable set of products, and by using his ingenuity profits could be
made in several ways. The Overseers were quick to see this development
and to stop it. When he asked permission to make a business trip to
Pennsylvania, the Elders were skeptical. They did not oppose his going
but "if, as we hear, he wants to buy goods on commission and sell them
here" he should stay at home. 39 The Overseers declared further that they
were quite doubtful about his whole way of life lately. 40 Nevertheless,
Gottlieb made the trip, leaving Salem on 6 March and returning two
months later. If Schober made arrangements in Pennsylvania in pursuit
of his mercantile business, he had the good sense not to bring anything
back with him. The Brethren thus had reason to hope that their stern
warnings had caused Gottlieb to respect the community order and
Almost nothing was recorded of the events on this trip to Pennsylva-
nia. Certainly the reunion of the family would have been a welcome event,
especially since there was so much personal news to share. Since his last
visit, Gottlieb had married, built a house, developed a new trade, and
become a father. Young Nathaniel now shared his parents' attention with
a sister, Johanna Sophia, who was born on 11 August 1786. Surely
Gottlieb would have been full of stories to tell eager grandparents so that
the days of visiting passed rapidly. It is possible that Schober made at least
one business trip to Ephrata, Pennsylvania, where he looked over the
paper manufactory there. Two years later, his knowledge of the Ephrata
establishment helped him to crystallize plans for a similar venture in
The months following Schober's return to Salem were quiet. Gottlieb
tried his hand at painting houses in the summer, but this whim was
quickly satisfied. 41 He also asked for a sign to identify his business on
which a lion would appear, but was advised that a sign with "a sample of
,9 Elders' Conference, 7 February 1787, Moravian Archives.
^°Board of Overseers, 27 February 1787, Moravian Archives.
41 Board of Overseers, 24 July 1787, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2187.
A Family and the Search for Security • 45
finished goods, or a picture of one, or the name of the business in large
letters, is the easiest to read and most suitable for us." 42 Generally,
business was good and Schober prospered.
In early 1788 he submitted an inventory to the Overseers which
revealed that his "status has improved very much." 43 For the first time,
assets equaled liabilities and, if called upon, Schober could pay all his
debts. But even that happy state of affairs became a problem. When
Brother Peter Yarell encountered difficulties paying his debts in 1788,
Schober advanced him a sum of money to help. No interest rate was
mentioned, but in all probability, it was present. This transaction promp-
ted the Overseers to declare: "Since Brother Schober is able to lend money
to others, it would be good for him to pay his debts to the community
treasury." 44 Further discussion revealed that other people were starting
"little deals" and when questioned about it, responded: "If Schober can do
it, why can't we?" The board came to the conclusion that Schober "knows
to start his things off so well that we cannot catch him." 45 Obviously,
Schober was walking a very narrow edge; his survival in Salem was a
testimony to his ingenuity. More than that, however, it also revealed a
fundamental weakness in Salem's economic system. The Brethren knew
that unless a person voluntarily subscribed to the community economic
philosophy, real compliance could never be enforced.
Schober's recalcitrance convinced most that he was trying to take
advantage of the system, an attitude which usually led to immediate
exclusion. But Schober also displayed real piety and participated regularly
and strongly in the religious life of the community. Was it possible for a
true Moravian Brother to seek personal economic advancement? The
continuing toleration of Schober would seem to indicate the persistence
of that question in the minds of some.
Actually, in the midst of his conflicts, Schober continued to make
recognized contributions to the strength and vitality of the community. In
1788 he was suggested for the position of curator of the single sisters
42 Board of Overseers, 4 September 1787, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
45 Board of Overseers, 9 January 1788, Moravian Archives. The purpose of the inven-
tory was not recorded. It may have come as the result of Schober's violation of trade
regulations the preceding year.
44 Board of Overseers, 15 July 1788, Moravian Archives.
46 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
choir but a negative lot prevented his being considered. 46 The same year
he accepted, although with some reluctance, the responsibility of caring
for beggars on behalf of the congregation. A special account was sup-
ported by all citizens from which Schober would give to the poor so that
beggars would not solicit from door to door. Most likely the collection of
this account was not pleasant, nor could he give any destitute person
enough to make a real difference. 47 In early 1789 Schober assumed
responsibility for securing and placing gravestones in God's Acre. He
continued to help regularly with the music in worship, especially at
Bethabara and Bethania. Gottlieb's efforts in this regard must have
caused ambivalent feelings among those on the directing boards. Was he
an asset or a liability?
For Schober, the answer to that question was clear. He believed that
he was a faithful Moravian and that he should be allowed reasonable
financial rewards for his efforts. But he knew that he was testing the
patience of the boards. In February 1789, Gottlieb wrote the Overseers to
explain how he had again emerged from the barter system with a
shipment of gunpowder and other items from Petersburg, Virginia,
which he had no permission to sell. The reaction of the Overseers was
predictable. Other tradesmen in the community made a reasonable profit
without the trading of merchandise and so must Schober. Clearly once
more, Schober was given a directive.
If Br. Schober receives the products of the land or paper money for his
tinware, and spends the paper money to buy products which he can ship to
the seaport and there exchange for tin or hard money, or if he finds it more
profitable and ships to England for exchange there for tin or other necessar-
ies, the Collegium has no objections. But if for the products he bought he
brings in goods for resale, that is contrary to the spirit of the congregation
rules which provide that no one shall overstep the boundaries of his own
Schober acquiesced orally to the arrangement, but by July it was
asserted that "Brother Schober is still taking new wares into his house." 49
l6 Elders' Conference, 2 April 1788, Moravian Archives.
47 Board of Overseers, 9, 23 December 1788, Moravian Archives.
■* 8 Board of Overseers, 10 February 1789, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
49 Board of Overseers, 17 February, 7 July 1789, Moravian Archives.
A Family and the Search for Security • 47
Investigation substantiated the charge and Brother Frederic Marshall was
directed to deliver to him a letter.
With much patience, we have tried to wait and see what Brother Schober will
do in his merchandising, even after several reminders from the Brethren of
this Board. Now our daily experience shows that his trade instead of
stopping ... is expanding more and more. . . . The Board of Overseers is
forced, therefore, to demand from him through this letter, a final declaration
whether he is now going to stop immediately this buying and selling
together with the commission trade which he pursues besides his real trade.
... If Brother Schober does not want to listen to our demand, he is
violating the orders of the community, has no more the character of a
brother and will have to suffer that we do not consider him as such any
longer. Yes, it would be his own fault if we would have to make use of the last
method in the lease to part from him. 50
Finally, Schober knew that the Overseers would not yield. Every
excuse he offered was pushed aside; his proposals for new ventures were
tabled; his woeful tales of losses if he had to give up trading were
disregarded. And then came this letter written in third person demanding
absolute conformity or threat of exclusion from the community. One
week later Schober's response was read to the Overseers. He agreed to the
ultimatum and consented to sell his stock altogether, even though it
meant no profit and some loss of shipping costs. Two board members
were immediately dispatched to inspect his stock and to explain once
again the difference between trading "with a merchant's profit by the
pound or by the yard" and accepting wares in barter as a community
service to be sold without attention to extra profit. He could certainly
raise the price to cover shipping, but not to increase profit. 51 The store in
Salem took some of Schober's inventory, and the Bethabara establish-
ment agreed to pay him the regular wholesale price for his gunpowder. In
each case, Gottlieb insisted that his goods were of superior quality and
were worth more. But he had little choice. He probably did lose some
money, but not nearly as much as he claimed. In any case, declared the
boards, "he bought them consciously acting against the orders of the
community" and if he loses some money "on the whole we think it
necessary because of the bad example he has set for so many people who
also want to trade." 52
50 Board of Overseers, 14 July 1789, Moravian Archives.
5 'Board of Overseers, 21 July 1789, Moravian Archives.
"Board of Overseers, 14 July 1789, Moravian Archives.
48 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
As harsh as the narrative of these events may sound, Schober's
relations with the directing boards were not completely negative. They
recognized his obstreperous manner and finally concluded that only the
ultimate threat of exclusion from the community would be heard. Schober
submitted and complied with the boards' demands. He still believed he
was right but knew that the boards at this time held the final allegiance of
the community. Consequently, during the middle of the controversy,
Gottlieb was so bold as to propose a totally new venture. Because there
was a need in North Carolina for good quality paper, and sources were
scattered and undependable, Schober asked permission to build a paper
manufactory on the western outskirts of Salem. The Overseers recog-
nized the need and conjectured that "it might keep him from speculations
of which we cannot approve." 53 Once Schober responded in writing to the
ultimatum concerning his merchandizing, the boards encouraged him to
proceed with his plans for a paper mill if he could avoid bringing in a
non-Moravian craftsman. A mill pond to provide water power was no
difficulty, and Christian Stauber expressed an interest in learning the art
of papermaking. In early September 1789, the plans were approved and
Stauber left for a six month stay at Ephrata, Pennsylvania. Before his
return, he would also visit other mills, preparing himself to begin a
quality establishment. In the Fayetteville Gazette there soon appeared an
SALEM PAPER MANUFACTORY
LADIES SAVE YOUR RAGS
The Subscriber begs leave to inform the public that he is erecting a Paper
Mill, in this town, which he hopes, in a short time, to have completed; and at
the same time humbly makes known to the ladies of Fayetteville, Hillsbo-
rough, Salisbury and Morgan Districts that without their assistance, he can
do nothing — -without rags, paper cannot be made. The economical house-
wife, who supplies the paper mill with rags, serves the country in her sphere
as well as the soldier who fights for it does in his. For all kinds of clean
Cotton and Linen Rags a generous price will be given, and the favor
particularly acknowledged of any person collecting a quantity.
Gottlieb Shober [sic]
Salem, Septr. 8th, 1789 54
S( Board of Overseers, 7 July 1789, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2278.
''^Fayetteville Gazette, vol. 1, no. 4, Monday, 14 September 1789. Reprinted in the
North Carolina University Magazine, November 1853 and in Fries and others, Records of
Moravians, 5:2402. Schober increasingly dropped the "c" in his surname after this period
and especially when the communication was in English.
The Paper Mill
loR the speculative businessman, papermaking was an inter-
esting gamble in 1790. The art was imported to America about 1700
when the Rittenhausen family came to Germantown, Pennsylvania. Mills
proliferated in New Jersey and Massachusetts in the early eighteenth
century to the point that the British expressed fears for their exports. 1
The Stamp Act of 1764 specified that all official documents must be on
stamped paper or parchment, but public outcry led to repeal after one
year. Another law in 1767 included paper as a taxed import, reducing
consumption generally but encouraging domestic manufacture. By the
time of the Revolution, paper was very scarce in the colonies, leading to
many new establishments in the 1780s. By 1787 there were sixty-three
mills in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. South of this imme-
diate area, however, the craft was almost nonexistent. In North Carolina,
only the small establishment near Hillsborough owned by John Hulgan
produced paper products. 2 In a travelogue translated in 1792, J. P. Brissot
de Warville observed that, because rags and labor were scarce, Americans
'J- Leander Bishop,/! History of American Manufactures from 1608 to 1860 (Philadel-
phia: Edward Young and Company, 1866), 1:196.
2 Dard Hunter, Papermaking in Pioneer America (Philadelphia: University of Penn-
sylvania Press, 1952), p. 72.
50 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
would not be able to "furnish sufficient paper for the prodigious con-
sumption caused by the increase of knowledge and the freedom of their
press." 3 On the other hand, in his 1790 report, Secretary of the Treasury
Alexander Hamilton declared that papermaking was very adequate to
meet the national demand. Such differences in evaluative opinion created
ripe opportunities for the speculator who guessed correctly on the true
situation. And Schober was a gambler. From appearances, however, the
young businessman had only limited investment capital. How much
better to find a partner to share the initial risk, especially one willing to
advance money without demanding a management voice. In November
1789 Schober petitioned "the honorable the General Assembly of the
State of North Carolina" to advance three hundred pounds "for a few
Years without Interest," so that he might establish this much-needed
manufactory. He cited the great expense of securing artists and machines
from other states and feared that he could not do it alone. He hoped "at
the next session of the General Assembly to produce paper, Sufficient and
nice whereon our own Laws may be printed." 4 Accompanying the peti-
tion was a letter signed by six prominent Salem citizens testifying that
Schober had in fact launched the enterprise with his own money, but "by
Letters received from Pennsylvania it is found more expensive than at
first expected." Should the Assembly grant the request
we are assured that he will be punctual to his Engagements (which he always
was) and that he will also have the Paper Manufactory in a reasonable Time
The General Assembly hesitated, but after a vote of 25 to 12 in the Senate
with the House concurring, the Treasurer was directed to loan to Schober
? Jacques Pierre Brissot de Warville, New Travels in the United States, Performed in
1788 (New York: T & J Swords, 1792), cited by Bishop, A History of American Manufac-
4 Petition of Gottlieb Schober to the General Assembly of North Carolina. Dated by
another hand 7 November 1789 and filed among the Legislative Papers of the Senate,
1 789, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina. Hereinafter cited as North
Tetter to the General Assembly of North Carolina, dated 31 October 1789, Salem,
Surry County signed by Jacob Blum, Samuel Stots, John Rightz, Fred. Wm. Marshall, John
Hanke and Peter Yarrell. Legislative Papers of the Senate, 1789, North Carolina
The Paper Mill and Prosperity • 5 1
Three hundred pounds, clear of interest, for three years, for the purpose of
encouraging a paper manufactory in this state, taking bond with sufficient
security for the punctual payment thereof. . . . 6
The young man returned from Raleigh flushed with his success and
ready to bargain for the land on which to build a mill pond. The site was
already tentatively selected: the meandering course of Peters Creek just
south of the main road leading west from Salem provided an excellent site
for a dam and mill pond to supply the power for the mill. 7 Schober liked
the location, but he wanted to buy the land for the pond rather than lease
it. The congregation regulations mandated that the church should own all
land within a three-mile radius of the community and only lease to
individuals who were granted use of the property. But Gottlieb believed
that the investment was too large to risk termination of a lease and forced
sale. He probably remembered well the curt letter from the Overseers
threatening to cancel his house lease if he failed to follow community
regulations. Ownership of the land would give him a measure of security
should the paper business open other opportunities frowned upon by
However, Schober's attempts to circumvent the regulations were also
fresh in the memories of others.
Brother Schober is still violating all the limits of trade and commerce for
which the paper mill, where he also wants to build his house, will give him
even more opportunity. Therefore the Collegium thought it advisable not to
sell him the land, but to give it to him through a lease and have him promise
all the necessary conditions through a bond. 8
Schober balked. He knew that the community at large liked his proposed
manufactory, and the Overseers' response seemed to indicate that the
only real barrier to the sale was Schober's own past activities. He offered
to accept a forty-year lease with a thousand dollars bond to guarantee his
proper behavior. Still the Overseers would not compromise. They were
suspicious of Schober's voluminous arguments and his fear of the one
6 Walter Clark, ed. The State Records of North Carolina, vol. 21, 1788-1790, (Golds-
boro, North Carolina, 1903), p. 581. A few similar loans were made during this period to
encourage various business enterprises in the state.
7 The millpond was located just south of the place where today Academy Street crosses
Peters Creek. At that time the Shallowford Road ran westward from Salem.
8 Board of Overseers, 16 February 1790, Moravian Archives.
52 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
year lease. Perhaps he intended to pursue his own business goals and
Even if he contracts himself with a large sum of money, [we are still unsure
of] his intentions. It is mainly a question of conscience that would keep him
from [illegal ] trading. He would always be able to [ make excuses] before the
court though he may have violated his [obligation] constantly. [In light of
our past] experiences [with him,] we cannot believe that he honestly wants
to follow community principles in every way. . . . 9
Therefore the Overseers insisted that the contract contain no special
terms, but they did agree to eliminate local competition if he could supply
the community's needs. Still Schober was not satisfied. He argued for
lower rent payments on the flooded land and objected to the strict
application of specific community regulations to an enterpise located
outside the village. But the Overseers parried every thrust. In seeming
exasperation the Overseers finally declared:
If Brother Schober is therefore not willing or does not believe that he is able
to follow the conditions of the lease in their true sense, and if he does not
think that we act brotherly and righteously with him, he will do good to look
for another place. 10
Probably sensing that he had gained as much as possible, Schober gave an
oral assent. There was surely annoyance on both sides, but given Scho-
ber's disposition, such negotiation was without permanent rancor. Gott-
lieb wanted the best arrangement possible and worked to that end. The
issues were not insignificant; rather they illustrated the main points of
conflict between a philosophy of economic individualism and a concept of
management of economic enterprises for the benefit of the community.
The contract was prepared for signatures, and a plat of 196 and
three-fourths acres was measured. Schober finally signed although he
formally protested some of the provisions in a written statement. Evi-
dently even the Overseers were not unanimous. Several men backed
Schober's protest with their own signatures. He believed that "he was
forced to the conditions of the contract since he could not retreat any
more because of the money already invested in the project." 11 But the
majority of the Board held firm and judged the protest as "unreasonable
9 Board of Overseers, 20 February 1790, Moravian Archives.
10 Board of Overseers, 2 March 1790, Moravian Archives.
"Board of Overseers, 14 July 1790, Moravian Archives.
The Paper Mill and Prosperity • 53
and not to be accepted." 12 The Overseers were probably correct in their
cautious dealings with Schober at this time. In an invoice dated 8 Sep-
tember 1790 the Philadelphia firm of Statt and Donaldson acknowledged
Schober's order of gunpowder and some necklaces for which in exchange
Schober had sent one cask of tallow and six hogsheads of tobacco. Only a
wide imagination could include these items in the trade of a tinsmith and
breeches maker or in the business of paper manufacturing. 13
Meanwhile, work was in fact proceeding rapidly at the mill site.
Christian Stauber returned from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, where he had
acquired the necessary skills in papermaking. Schober employed Johann
Krause as chief carpenter for the project and rented slaves for the manual
labor. 14 The only negative incident recorded was the frequent "cursing,
use of bad words and songs" by the paper mill workmen which Schober
was requested to control because it was influencing the younger
brethren. 15 The dam was completed, land flooded, and the mill itself
constructed. Early in 1791 Schober proudly exhibited his products, first,
simple blotting paper and, by June, a fine quality writing paper of double
folio size with a watermarked "NC" on the left page and "S" on the right
in nine-sixteenths inch letters. 16 Schober had every reason to be proud,
because, according to a twentieth-century Scholar,
the quality of the North Carolina paper made by the Moravian Brotherhood
is equal to that of any paper manufactured in America during the latter part
of the eighteenth century. 17
u Board of Overseers, 20 July 1790, Moravian Archives.
13 Invoice in Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
u Board of Overseers, 6 December 1790, Moravian Archives. Schober and other
Moravians used slaves for heavy labor but usually rented them from neighbors. A few
were owned by community enterprises, such as the tavern, but private ownership required
authorization by the governing boards. Permission was granted only when the need for
ownership was clearly demonstrated and when it would not interfere with the apprentice
system for training the youth. See Philip Africa, "Slaveholding in the Salem Community,
1771-1851," North Carolina Historical Review 54 (July 1977): 271-307.
15 Board of Overseers, 22, 29 June 1790, Moravian Archives.
16 Salem Diary, 30 June 1791, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2326. The "S"
could have stood for "Schober", but combined with "NC" likely signified "Salem". There is
some question whether the watermark existed on the early paper. See Adelaide L. Fries,
"First Paper Mill in Salem Started in 1791," Employment Security Commission Quarterly
6:1 (Winter 1948): 30-32. But watermarked examples have been discovered among the
Schober papers indicating an early if not initial use of the symbols.
17 Dard Hunter, Papermaking in Pioneer America, p. 75.
54 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
In the 1790s most paper was made by hand. The process began with
old rags of cotton or linen. The cloth was reduced to a finely chopped
mass, mixed with water to form a pulp, and bleached with chloride of lime
in a large vat. The sheets were formed in a wooden mold the bottom of
which consisted of fine interlaced wire. Schober's molds usually had
twenty-four horizontal wires to the inch and vertical wires one and
one-eighth inch apart. A " vatman" gradually poured a dipper of pulp into
the mold, shaking it gently to allow the water to pass, leaving the fibrous
particles on the wire in the form of a sheet. This was blotted between felts
and dried in an airy room. 18 Paper was thus produced one sheet at a time.
The quality, of course, depended on the pulp and the bleaching process.
Extant examples from Schober's mill are light weight, sturdy, and of a
cream color. It could be folded once for folio size, twice for quarto, or three
times to form eight pages.
Despite the apparent success of the venture, the paper manufactory
was not without its problems both for Schober and the community. The
main road leading west was covered by the mill pond, and since there was
no other suitable place to ford Peters Creek either the road had to be
completely rerouted or a bridge built over the mill race. Since the former
would involve the county court, the Brethren decided on a bridge. This
required the hauling of fill dirt, large quantities of stone and timbers, and
continuing maintenance. Schober offered to supply the initial materials
and four dollars in money or labor if the community would supply the
remainder and maintain the structure along with other town roads. The
fact that this matter was accomplished in June 1791 without significant
bickering between Schober and the community authorities pointed to a
more amicable relationship. Actually two significant events had occurred.
First, in October 1790, Schober himself had been elected by the Congrega-
tion Council to the Board of Overseers. Secondly, the first renewal on the
paper mill lease had solved some concerns on the part of both parties.
Schober's election to the Board of Overseers was not unexpected. The
heated negotiations over the lease likely reflected personal antagonisms
rather than community consensus. Gottlieb had long been entrusted with
the administration of the Salem "poor fund" and in the middle of the
lease negotiations was commended for his efforts and commissioned to
18 Edward Hazen, The Panorama of Professions andTrades (Philadelphia: Uriah Hurt
and Son, 1836), pp. 191-92.
The Paper Mill and Prosperity • 55
supervise the matter so that "no beggar should be allowed to go to the
houses unless he has a ticket from Br. Schober." 19 In July 1790 the Elders
asked Gottlieb to be one of three organists for worship services, each
rotating one week at a time. 20 In October of that year the Congregation
Council, in an obvious show of support for this young entrepreneur,
elected him to the Overseers, a council of seven men charged to manage
the economic affairs of the entire community. Such an expression of
confidence would not have been easily given. An affirmative lot con-
firmed the election of each member, and Schober became a member of the
body which had been to this point his most severe critic. In a division of
duties, Schober was designated to collect and administer the school fees
for the town. For older children in Salem, parents paid one shilling per
week; those in Bethabara and Bethania paid eight pence. The children of
four or five years were charged six pence weekly. 21 Schober also partici-
pated in the deliberations and decisions of the entire body, a responsibil-
ity which doubtless smoothed the way for the lease renewal in May 1791,
although the renewal was far from automatic.
The anniversary of the initial lease gave both Schober and the Over-
seers a chance to amend offending sections. Schober renewed his request
to be the sole supplier for the community, but his colleagues felt that it
must first be determined whether "we can get from his mill all different
sorts of paper of good quality and quantity for a good price." 22 The board
encouraged Schober to expand the variety of his product and promised
that the store would not compete when he could meet the need. In the
new lease the acreage was altered, since the dam had been built eight feet
high and had flooded more land than originally expected. Schober paid
rent of £6.9.4 in gold or silver. He promised to conform with community
regulations and to sell his improvements to a buyer approved by the
community authorities should he terminate the lease. He was not to use
the land for any trade or commerce besides paper making. 23 Gottlieb was
evidently happier with this contract — or at least realized he could do no
19 Board of Overseers, 18 May 1790, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2305.
20 Elders' Conference, 7 July 1790, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2308.
21 Board of Overseers, 15 October 1790, Moravian Archives.
"Board of Overseers, 19 April 1791, Moravian Archives.
23 Lease agreement between Gottlieb Schober and Samuel Stotz, warden of the single
brothers' choir, signed 1 May 1791. Schober papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
56 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
better. He also decided about this time to reduce his own risk by taking a
partner, an unlikely turn of events if Schober was sure of future profits or
if he had been able to use the venture as a base for more diversified
operations. He had already tried to manage the mill himself with his
father-in-law as the primary supervisor. Phillip Transou, Sr. moved with
his family to Salem in April 1791, to live at the mill but returned to
Bethania in July for reasons of health. 24 In October, Schober entered a
partnership with Christian Stauber, the man who had learned the skill in
Pennsylvania and who was already the chief operator. Schober believed
that Stauber would develop a better product if he himself could share
potential profits. The contract established salaries for both Schober and
Stauber with each sharing equally the expenses and future profits or
losses. A clause was added to the lease granting Stauber the same rights
and responsibilities as Schober possessed. 25
With these matters seemingly settled, Gottlieb proceeded with the
development of the business. He was given permission early in 1792 to
purchase a slave named Stephen for work at the mill on condition that he
would be sold if his conduct became bad and provided that he "does not
spend his [free] time here in the community and returns to the mill on
Sundays when he comes here to the sermon." 26 Another Moravian,
Johann Volz, came to work at the mill and built a house nearby. But soon
trouble began to develop between the partners. The details of the diffi-
culty were not recorded, except Schober's charge that Stauber's manage-
ment of the business was so haphazard as to drive both of them to
bankruptcy. The Overseers tried to mediate the dispute, suggesting that
Schober himself become more active "in the employment of workers and
also the whole direction of the business." 27 The mediation seemed suc-
cessful at first; both agreed for Schober to repurchase Stauber's share and
dissolve the partnership, but the latter would continue making paper for
24 Salem Diary, 29 April, 22 July 1791, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2323,
"Board of Overseers, 4, 11, 25 October 1791, Moravian Archives.
26 Board of Overseers, lOJanuary 1792, Moravian Archives. The arrangement revealed
that Salem Moravians in this early period welcomed blacks to attend worship but did not
encourage the development of social relations. But it should also be pointed out that no
non-Moravians were allowed to loiter in the community except the paying guests at the
27 Board of Overseers, 5 February 1793, Moravian Archives.
The Paper Mill and Prosperity • 57
an annual salary of forty-nine pounds plus housing for his family. Soon
matters deteriorated further, causing Schober to tell Stauber that "he
should do better to look for another working place and another living
quarter because he is neglecting everything." 28 Again the Overseers tried
to settle matters because Stauber's other skill as a tailor promised him
only a meagre livelihood. But Stauber appeared satisfied if he could only
escape from the mill and the dominance of his employer. Schober
reissued paper mill notes and obligations over his own name to clear
Stauber of any liability and in July the latter moved his family to Bethab-
ara to resume his trade as tailor. 29 The reorganization at the mill was not
described. Schober evidently assumed total financial responsibility for the
mill and employed supervisors. Johann Volz already had sufficient expe-
rience to run the operation; then Johann George Wageman emerged after
1794 as a key figure in the business. It is doubtful that Schober himself
was ever heavily involved in mill operations because his personal busi-
ness affairs became increasingly complex in the mid-1790s.
The tinsmith business expanded rapidly during this period. Early in
1792 Schober took William Eldridge on a three-year apprenticeship to
learn the craft. The apprentice was to have a regular salary but detailed
arrangements were included in case of sickness, indicating that the young
man did not likely possess a hearty constitution. 30 More important was
Schober's request to build a shop between his house and that of Traugott
Bagge. This was necessary for several reasons. First, Schober's family had
expanded considerably since his house was built. In addition to Nathaniel,
Johanna Sophia had arrived on 11 August 1786 at 9:30 in the morning,
Emmanuel on 12 February 1789, and Anna Paulina at 3:30 on the
morning of 6 December 1791. 31 Four small children left little space for
even a tinsmith! A one room frame and weather board shop was built and
soon became the scene of even more community activity. In July 1792
Schober became Salem's first postmaster.
The Postal Act of 1792 of the United States Congress reorganized the
system and provided for an expansion of service. One result of this action
28 Board of Overseers, 12 March 1793, Moravian Archives.
29 Board of Overseers, 2 April 1793, Moravian Archives; Salem Diary, 6 April 1793,
Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2472.
30 Board of Overseers, 24 July 1792, Moravian Archives.
3 'Gottlieb Schober's Bible, Gottlieb Schober Papers, Moravian Archives.
58 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
was a postal rider who traveled from Halifax to Salisbury once every two
weeks, the first arriving in Salem on 1 July 1792.
Our Br. Gottlieb Schober was appointed postmaster, and we made the first
use of the post to send letters to Pennsylvania, and hope by it also to keep in
touch with the political news. 32
The Congregation Council subscribed to a regular newpaper, and soon
reports from the Unity Elders' Conference in Pennsylvania began to
arrive regularly. A letter by post to Philadelphia cost two shillings or
twenty-five cents, and only six pence more would carry it all the way to
Europe. 33 The advent of this system did much toward eliminating the
isolation of this backcountry community. The fortnightly arrival of letters
and newpapers soon became an important event. Regular communica-
tion increased Salem's knowledge of and involvement in the affairs of the
nation. The community was also drawn closer to the Brethren in Pennsyl-
vania and Europe, since the postal system's regularity was more dependa-
ble than the old way of using travelers to carry letters and reports between
Salem's inclusion in the system was likely influenced by the growing
reputation of the town among North Carolinians. Certainly the visit of
President George Washington to Salem in 1791 while on his tour of
southern states did much to help that reputation. 34 Washington was most
impressed with the cleanliness and order of the community as well as the
unexpected musical abilities of these people of the backcountry. He
inspected with approval the engineering of Salem's water system which
piped spring water up and down several hills to empty in the community
square. This was accomplished with wooden pipes through which large
holes were bored for downhill flow and small holes for uphill flow.
Schober himself played a distinct role in the growth of Salem's reputa-
tion. After 1789 he was a regular visitor at sessions of the North Carolina
Assembly, usually going "on his own business." 35 There he doubtless had
no difficulty making friends with prominent North Carolinians —
relationships which well served both Schober and Salem over the next
32 Salem Diary, 1 July 1792, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2362.
''Congregation Council, 20 July 1792, Moravian Archives; Board of Overseers, 24
September 1792, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2481.
34 Salem Diary, 1 June 1791, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2324-5.
3, Salem Diary, 7 December 1792, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2474.
The Paper Mill and Prosperity • 59
few years. Before pursuing these developments, a review of Schober's
business dealings will reveal his progress toward his goal of financial
Reflection upon the early business career of Schober reveals that he
exemplified on a small scale a particular group of men in American
business history. He started with almost no financial capital; yet within a
very few years and despite Moravian regulations aiming at financial
egalitarianism and opposing individual accumulation, Schober became
wealthy measured by standards of his own community. To be sure, he
continued to work for his livelihood for many years; but after 1795
increasing amounts of Schober's time would be given to non-commercial
To say that Schober was an exceptional individual in his business
career requires some explanation. Despite several rags-to-riches careers
in American business history, studies have shown that most successful
businessmen came from substantial business or professional backgrounds
and therefore had distinct initial advantages. Most merchants and plan-
ters in colonial America were born into the upper class. That pattern was
equally pervasive from the mid-nineteenth century forward. The excep-
tion to this pattern in business history occurred from 1780 to about 1820
when "the number of businessmen coming from humble origins
increased markedly." 36 So Schober put forth his great effort at a time
propitious for success. Moreover, his choice of a field by which to reach
financial independence was especially discerning. According to one scho-
lar, the vocation of general storekeeper in this period was the best route
to success. This, he wrote, was a position of great influence necessary in
the rise of towns and villages. The storekeeper became a middleman for
the predominantly agrarian society, bartering merchandise for farm
crops and participating in the growth of a region. Storekeeping offered
subsidiary opportunities for profit in sawmills or gristmills. In a period
before banks, the storekeeper functioned as a bank, extending credit and
profiting from several sides of a single transaction. The merchant's
connections often gave him knowledge of land speculation possibilities or
participation in maritime ventures. "Storekeepers constituted the central
36 Elisha P. Douglass, The Coming of Age of American Business (Chapel Hill: Univer-
sity of North Carolina Press, 1971), p. 10.
60 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
group in the development of interior villages and towns in the ante-
bellum period." 37
Schober was not the Salem storekeeper, but studies of his activities
reveal that he attempted to operate in that dimension. The wealthiest and
probably most respected citizen in Salem, apart from church officials, was
Traugott Bagge, who operated the store for the community on a monopo-
listic basis. Yet Schober managed to wedge himself into this business,
much to the displeasure of community governance. Both the tinsmithy
and the paper mill gave opportunity for barter operations necessitating a
flow of attractive merchandise through Schober into the community;
moreover, both operations afforded possibilities of multiple profits in
storekeeper fashion. A brief sampling of Schober's business journals for
the early 1790s revealed the variety of his operations. In October 1791 he
sold to Daniel Christman one ream of paper, twelve papers of pins, ten
pair of buckles, four pairs of knee buckles, one dozen knives, and six
spelling books. For labor, Schober paid a man with one quart whiskey, a
half-dozen spoons, and four needles. In February 1792 Schober bought
rags with needles, English books, buckles, lace pins, and knives. Other
items mentioned in the journal for 1792 were pills and drops for medical
uses, wire, sausage, grain, water, pots, cups, all kinds of paper, nails,
shoes, thread, thimbles, indigo cloth, tobacco, butter, and two copies of
Robinson Crusoe}* He was indeed a merchant.
Thus Schober made his mark in the business world. On a national or
regional scale, he was an unknown, but in Moravian Salem he exemplified
aggressive economic individualism. It may be that the restrictive eco-
nomic environment of Salem magnified Schober's success unduly, and it
could be argued that this environment created the chance for his success
by holding back more reticent persons. But the predominant evidence
seems to reveal Schober as an aggressive and perceptive businessman
who consistently tried new ideas and new means and who persistently
sought to modify institutions in the face of opposition not simply for
profit, but to satisfy an inner drive to exercise his inherent talents.
37 Lewis E. Atherton, The Southern Country Store (Baton Rouge: The Louisiana State
University Press, 1949), p. 193.
38 "Journal wherein all Transactions concerning my Paper Mill are justly recorded and
serves also as a Journal for my other businesses for 1790" [to 1795] Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
The Gottlieb Schober House built in 1785
(artist's conception by Stewart Archibald)
hile the life of an independent businessman appealed to
Gottlieb Schober in many ways, from his early years he viewed this
pursuit as a means rather than an end. Or so it appeared to him at least in
retrospect. When writing an autobiographical summary in 1815 he
After we were having somewhat better times and were free of debts my wish
to serve the Lord in some way was roused again. In a spiritual way it was not
possible and I finally believed when I was involved in a small law suit that I
could serve my people perhaps in external matters. I studied law, acted some
years as advocate and helped with the lawsuits of the brothers in their
difficult land troubles in the belief that it was being done for the Lord — not
for man. 1
Had Schober been granted more freedom in business affairs, the result
might have been different. As a businessman, he was certainly prospering
even under adverse circumstances. He was becoming aware of new
opportunities as the North Carolina backcountry slowly developed. He
knew that with modest capital, the insightful and energetic person could
make for himself a very comfortable if not abundant life and leave for
each of his children a handsome legacy. In this effort, Schober was
•Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives.
64 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
successful, and many people knew it. In 1791 it was suggested that several
citizens like Brother Schober and Transou, "who have good incomes from
their professions" might contribute more to the support of the night-
watchman. 2 Nevertheless, this goal which motivated so many of his
period seemed not to satisfy the enterprising young man. Beyond his own
statement, there is little to suggest why he was attracted to the study of
law. Perhaps his contact with the Assemblymen, most of whom were
lawyers, convinced him that the practice of law would open great oppor-
tunities for a young man who had become a leader in his community and
who now aspired to the same on the state or national level. Perhaps
Schober saw in the law an acceptable way to expand his business affairs
without the harness imposed by community authorities. The profession
did in fact open new avenues into which Schober in later years was quick
to step. Perhaps he could supplement the income of a tinsmith through
the increasing involvement of individual Moravians in external legal
affairs. Or perhaps in fact he genuinely wished to serve the church in its
legal problems. Whatever the reasons, Schober's interest was first cap-
tured by his involvement in several local lawsuits, one of which he
mentioned in his autobiography. It was probably the matter of the Widow
Gottfried Aust, the prominent potter in the early Salem community,
died on 17 November 1788. Schober and Johannes Miicke were named
executors of the estate according to the will of the deceased. That will
assigned the estate to the widow, Mary Aust, except for a clause providing
transportation to America plus 200 pounds for Gottfried's niece still
living in Europe. Should she choose not to come, she was to receive 100
Spanish dollars, and the remainder was to go to the widow. Three years
after Aust's death, the matter was still unsettled and, at the request of the
widow, the Overseers investigated. Schober testified to the difficulty in
converting all the bonds and notes to cash and clearing all debts. Sister
Aust seemed satisfied with the accounting at first but soon raised new
questions. Despite efforts of the Overseers to mediate a settlement, 3 she
insisted on taking the matter to court. Her petition in June 1792, to the
Stokes County court argued that while the estate inventory showed a
value of £1,457.17.6, she had not received any part of the legacy. The
2 QBoard of Overseers, 22 March 1791, Moravian Archives.
3 Board of Overseers, 10 January, 29 May 1792, Moravian Archives.
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 65
petition requested the court to examine Schober on this and several other
matters relative to the estate. 4 Salem Overseers viewed her decision as a
serious breach of congregational regulations; the Brethren believed the
Biblical injunction that Christians should settle their differences without
recourse to civil courts if possible. In July Widow Aust was advised that
pursuit of the matter in court would jeopardize her continuation in the
community. While this threat may appear excessive, a close reading of the
record confirms that a more serious breakdown in personal relationships
was just beneath the surface. Both Widow Aust and Gottlieb Schober
were strong-willed and articulate persons; without doubt charges and
countercharges were heatedly exchanged, and Moravians wished to avoid
the precedent of Brethren using courts to solve internal personal prob-
lems. To assume that the Overseers were siding with Schober and against
Sr. Aust would be a mistake; their censure resulted from the action of the
widow's taking the matter outside the community. At first she promised
to halt her civil action, but later decided to leave the community. The
records do not clearly establish whether she was excluded from the
Moravian congregation entirely or simply asked to leave Salem for one of
the country congregations such as Bethania where community regula-
tions were less demanding. It was only stated: "Concerning her whole
way of life, we thought it better if she would live outside the community." 5
While this decision concluded the matter for Salem Moravians,
Schober was still involved. The county court appointed arbitrators who
reviewed Schober's payments to the widow: in February, May, and
October 1791, and September and November 1792, Schober paid a total
of 1,584 pounds. The point of contention was the amount of interest
Schober owed the estate for money collected during the period 1789-
1792. It would appear that Schober had not kept estate accounts separated
from his own assets and business dealings — a practice common in the
period when the medium of exchange included barter and depreciated
currency as well as hard money. The suit dragged on for another year until
the court directed a final payment of seventy-one pounds be made by
Schober to Sr. Aust. It was a compromise which favored neither side.
While Schober was disappointed with the decision — as was also Widow
4 Petition of Mary Aust to State of North Carolina, Stokes County, June term 1792.
Schober papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
5 Board of Overseers, 2, 9 October 1792, Moravian Archives.
66 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Aust 6 — the experience proved very beneficial for the future. Schober had
his first taste of law and the civil courts and evidently saw new possibili-
ties for his own career.
It is not known exactly when Gottlieb began his studies, but estab-
lished attorneys were frequent visitors in Salem. By 1792 Moravians were
already involved in an important lawsuit which was to drag on for many
years. As the Brethren's attorney, Colonel William R. Davie spent time in
Salem in that year 7 and public discussion of the case could have excited
Schober's interest in the study of law, especially since he was already
unpleasantly involved in the Aust case. Since Salem was only a few miles
from the local seat of justice, Germanton, Schober likely knew several
lawyers of the area including George Hauser who had represented
Widow Aust. Any of these could have directed Schober to the kinds of
reading and study necessary to pass the bar examination and to practice
on a local level. Schober himself provided only one glimpse of his study.
Writing to a friend, he prefaced his letter with this comment:
I am this evening tired of reading the antiquated processes of real Actions,
especially the Assise of novel disseisin, [Assise of] mort d'ancestor, writ of
entry in the per, & per cui & c. 8
Schober was studying real estate law; in particular he was dealing with the
recovery of lands where a tenant has been wrongfully dispossessed. To
him, at least this part of his study seemed tedious. He concluded this letter
in a humorous vein, asking his reader to remember "the maxim of Law,
Mala Grammatica non vitiat chartam." 9 But Schober's study had a very
practical and serious application. He was by 1793 involved in another
lawsuit even more serious than the Aust case. Schober acted as his own
attorney, soon learning that his own advice could be very expensive. It
involved a piece of land and an angry woman.
6 Despite the arbitration, Widow Aust two years later reopened the case insisting that
she now had proof that Schober was a "cheater." The Overseers counseled Schober to
settle with her outside court according to what was right. Schober insisted that he did not
owe her more interest. There is no evidence of further litigation so it must be assumed
that the matter was settled. Board of Overseers, 23 February, 3 March 1795, Moravian
7 Salem Diary, 15 August 1792, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 5:2363-64.
8 Gottlieb Schober to Evan Alexander, 20 January 1793, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
translation: Bad grammar does not vitiate a deed.
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 67
On 15 January 1793, five days prior to the letter cited immediately
above, Schober purchased from Peter Volz a house and seven acres of land
for forty pounds. Two years earlier Volz had bargained the house to its
occupant, Catherine Hauser, only to discover that she could not legally
hold title alone. 10 She continued to live in the house but paid no purchase
money or rent. In October 1792, according to Volz, Mrs. Hauser threat-
ened to kill his wife, so in January 1793 Volz sold the house to Schober
and gave Mrs. Hauser sixty days to vacate. She refused. Then, in Schober's
I offered her any Terms if she would move, but no. I and Six other men went
& uncovered the stable & plucked up fences knowing that I could do with my
property as I saw cause. 11
Mrs. Hauser indicted all seven men for trespassing and destruction of
property. Charges began to fly in all directions. Volz believed that Mrs.
Hauser and her daughters "kept a bawdy house upon the Land," had
threatened his wife, and now resisted his possession and sale of his
rightful property. 12 Salem Moravians became concerned and declared:
We wish that the affair in which Brother Schober is connected with the
widow Hauser at the South Fork would be quieted down and not brought
before the court because we suspect that unpleasant things would be revealed
on both sides which would harm the good reputation of the Brethren. 13
Nevertheless, Schober prepared for the case. He developed each of the
main points in writing, citing laws and precedents in his documentation.
At the trial, Schober's motion for dismissal was denied by the presiding
Jusitice of the Peace, and the court refused to hear his witnesses to
substantiate purchase of the property. The prosecution produced six
witnesses and won the case. The court awarded Mrs. Hauser £17. 10 on 28
November 1793 and assessed the defendants the cost of court for seven
indictments. Schober was furious. "Is all this not an unheard of &
10 Hers was a condition known as Feme covert or married woman. Usually a husband,
brother, son, or other male would receive the deed with zjeme covert to enable her to hold
1 'Document entitled "Statement of the Law" in Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
13 Board of Overseers, 28 May 1793, Moravian Archives.
68 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
accumulating oppression in a Republic? but where is the remedy?" 14 He
considered an appeal, but "I was advised that, if the Indictments are
quashed, or I am found not guilty above yet I must pay cost [of court]
below & above." 15 Even though he believed that he could impeach the
action of the court at a higher level, the financial risk was far greater than
the potential reward. So he paid the cost of court for himself and each of
his six friends, plus the fine awarded to widow Hauser. It was expensive
tuition, more in pride than in money, but Schober filed away his carefully
prepared and documented "Statement of the Law" and "Reasons in
Arrest in Judgment" with the final comment: "I can prove the unjust
proceedings of the County Court as stated above."
Usually legal notations are of interest only to lawyers. But an exami-
nation of Schober's preparation for this case can reveal the progress of his
legal study as well as something of the intellectual capability of the man.
Schober saw three flaws in the court's decision:
1. That the Court has no jurisdiction of the offense as charged in the Bill of
Indictment. . . .
2. That there is no actual force laid in the Indictment charging Breach of the
Peace. . . .
3. That the Indictment charges the offense committed against the freehold
of the prosecutrix, who is a feme Covert. 16
A review of the detail developed by Schober to challenge jurisdiction
showed the degree of his familiarity with the law.
Jurisdiction is only given to C. Courts to
Action of Trespass Iredll page 547
where quarter sessions have not original
Jurisdiction even consent of parties
dont give it IV Com Dig 155 Sal 202
The State empowers Justices & they have their
Authority from Commission or Statutes
Wood. Inst 79
Authority of Justices must be exactly pursued
2 Sal. 475
u Document entitled "Statement of Indictments," Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
1 ''Document entitled "Statement of the Law," Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
16 Document entitled "Reasons for Arrest of Judgement," Schober Papers, Old Salem
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 69
Justices have no authority but by express
Words IV Com Dig 57
to usurp Jurisdiction & by colour thereof,
imprision is punishable according to
bill of Rights W. Inst 464
If the Court has no jurisdiction & gives
Judgment it is not only erroneous but
void Bull N. P. 66
where the Subject Matter is not within the
Jurisdiction anything done is absolutely
void & the officer executing it is a
Trespasser B.N.P. 83, II E.N.P. 73
The Judgment must not be narrower or broader
than the Court or Barr Co. Litt.
p. 303 ta 17
Schober's second and third contentions were similarly outlined and docu-
mented. Whether Schober's argument was valid — evidently the court
thought not — is secondary here; the important point is that Schober was
in fact a serious and diligent student.
Matters of far more significance awaited the conclusion of Schober's
early legal tangles and his study of the law. Frederic W. Marshall, Salem's
administrator, wrote on 21 July 1794, that "For some years Br. Schober
has been studying law, and has been admitted to the bar by the Court."
Marshall further stated that Schober "has had charge of the law business
[of the town] for a year and a day" 18 which would indicate that he assumed
direction of Salem's legal affairs on 20July 1793. His admission to the bar
had already occurred by that time.
The matter to which Marshall referred was known as the "Mulberry
Fields" suit and was indeed difficult litigation for an inexperienced
attorney. After the Moravians purchased the Wachovia tract from Lord
Granville, they discovered that some of the land was of poorer quality
than anticipated. For compensation, the Englishman deeded to the
Brethren two additional tracts in western North Carolina which had been
surveyed in the original Moravian exploration for suitable land. Title was
held by a Moravian leader, Henry Cossart, in trust for the Unitas Fratrum,
just as James Hutton held title to Wachovia. In 1772 the Moravians
decided to sell these 8,773 acres, and power of attorney was sent to
18 Frederic W. Marshall to Unity Vorsteher Collegium, Salem, 21 July 1794, Fries and
others, Records of Moravians, 6:2514.
70 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Frederic W. Marshall. From 1774 to 1779 Marshall was in Europe; he had
only planned to attend the General Synod but was prevented from
returning by the Revolutionary War. In 1778 Bishop John Michael Graff,
acting with Marshall's power of attorney in hand, sold the Mulberry
Fields tracts to Hugh Montgomery for $6,250, of which $2,500 was paid
in cash and a mortgage given for the remainder. The same year in Europe,
Marshall, a naturalized citizen, received deeds to all the North Carolina
Moravian lands. But legality of the Moravian title came into question
because of the North Carolina Confiscation Act of November 1777,
which declared vacant all lands belonging to a person who was absent
from the country on 4 July 1776 and still absent at the time of the act,
unless he appeared at the 1778 Assembly session to substantiate his
citizenship. In 1782 Moravians successfully petitioned the North Caro-
lina Assembly to confirm title to Wachovia, but questions concerning
whether the power of attorney from Cossart to Marshall to Graff was
valid led to a slightly different treatment of the Mulberry Fields tracts. It
was clear, however, that the Assembly intended to validate the Moravian
claim, and that Hugh Montgomery held a clear title. In the ensuing years
squatters had settled on the Wilkes County land, forcing Montgomery to
sue to remove them. Moravians were unaware of this action until after
the Superior Court in Morgan District in 1789 had refused to honor
Montgomery's title. Moravians then felt honor bound to defend the title.
Again the North Carolina Assembly was petitioned, and the bill seemed
headed for passage in 1791 until it was blocked by parliamentary maneu-
vers by the president of the Senate, General William Lenoir. Since
Brethren could now only resort to the courts to eject the tenants-in-
possession, in 1793 they initiated Frederick William Marshall vs John
Lovelass and others. Lenoir appeared for the defendants, claiming Cos-
sart was an alien, the lands had escheated to the State at the Revolution,
and state grants given to himself and others were valid. Moravians cited
the parallel development of the Wachovia title with its confirmation by
the Assembly and claimed that both Wachovia and the Mulberry Fields
were free of encumbrance. 19
19 A more complete treatment of the case can be found in Fries and others, Records of
Moravians, 3:1413-19, and in Adelaide L. Fries, Forsyth County (Winston: Stewarts
Printing House, 1898), pp. 33-46. Records of the suit are included in Walter Clark, ed., 16
volumes, The State Records of North Carolina (Winston, Goldsboro, and Raleigh: State
of North Carolina), 14:123-24, 466.
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 71
It was at this juncture that Gottlieb Schober rendered significant legal
service to his community. Marshall, of course, did not leave litigation so
complex and so important to an inexperienced attorney. William R.
Davie continued on the case, but the Moravians found that an outsider
easily became confused in trying to explain the complexities of Moravian
property holding. 20 Schober's task was to gather evidence for the hearing,
provide liaison between Marshall and Davie, and, when necessary,
explain officially the nature of the community. In early 1794 he spent
considerable time in Burke County taking depositions and interviewing
those who were involved in the case. Whether Schober actually argued
the case before the court in these early years of his career is doubtful; in
any event, settlement of the case was delayed year after year. In 1795 the
Moravians decided on a new maneuver. If the lands had escheated to the
state, the title or benefits of sale now belonged to the University of North
Carolina to which the Assembly had recently given all escheated land as a
part of its endowment. Therefore, if Moravians could persuade the
Trustees to renounce all claims, the case in court would become unneces-
sary. Gottlieb Schober was selected as the man to address the University
Trustees — in itself a testimony to the confidence of community officials
in Schober's abilities and to his familiarity with state politics and leaders.
Gottlieb was well received by the Board in Chapel Hill and must have
argued persuasively because the Trustees voted to relinquish all claims as
beneficiaries to the land, even over the opposition of one of the Trustees,
William Lenoir. All seemed settled until Schober was gone, when Lenoir
persuaded the Trustees to reconsider the matter and to rescind their
decision. Then it was back to the courts; but many years would pass before
a final decision was rendered by the high court of North Carolina. At
various times during this period, Schober was involved in representing
Moravian interests in the case, 21 but detailing these activities belongs
more to the history of the case than to a study of Schober himself.
Schober's role on the case in the early 1800s will be treated in its proper
Fortunately for Schober's sanity, the Mulberry Fields case did not
encompass all of his legal work for Salem. As the offical community
20 Frederic W. Marshall to the Unity Vorsteher Collegium, Salem, 21 July 1794, Fries
and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2*)^.
21 Salem Diary, 15 March 1798, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2604.
72 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
attorney, he was asked in 1794 to revise the lease by which new citizens
would be able to hold local property. Gottlieb already had conflicted with
the Overseers on the paper mill lease, but evidently there was no linger-
ing antagonism on either side. After much work, Schober presented a
new format to the Overseers which was acceptable, and plans were set for
all leases to be revised. 22 The new lease provided for an upward valuation
of property values. Since this was an internal matter not affecting taxa-
tion, several people objected that their houses were not valued high
enough. If forced to leave Salem, the value stated in the lease would be the
maximum that could be demanded. Schober's house, for example, was
first reappraised at 200 pounds, then finally set at 250 pounds. Traugott
Bagge's was identical. Only one house in town was set higher than
Schober's, and most were valued between 100 and 150. 23
Another local legal problem involved estate settlements. The possi-
bility of unexpected death made most Brethren aware of the need of a
will, but experience had shown that unusual formats were necessary for
conditions peculiar to Salem. Many persons included minute details
concerning the education and apprenticeship of children. As conditions
changed, these provisions were difficult to fulfill, jeopardizing the valid-
ity of the entire document. 24 Since individuals in Salem owned houses, but
leased the land on which they stood, the wills had to be consistent with
the lease. Where individuals operated a community enterprise such as the
store or tavern, personal assets had to be carefully separated. Such
problems led community officials to ask Schober for sample wills to aid
the citizens with these particular problems. 25 In 1796 Schober and Bagge
developed documents which were approved by the Overseers and recom-
mended to the Brethren. There are indications that Schober spent some
time counseling heads of families in this regard. Although fees for these
services were never mentioned, undoubtedly they contributed in a small
way to Schober's growing prosperity.
At various times during this period, Schober helped the town in
minor legal matters. In 1794 officials feared that the Brethren's exemp-
tion from military service would be lost. Schober wrote letters "to some of
22 Board of Overseers, 18, 25 November 1794, Moravian Archives.
23 Board of Overseers, 17 February, 2 March 1795, Moravian Archives.
24 Board of Overseers, 31 May 1796, Moravian Archives.
"Board of Overseers, 24 May, 5 July, 11 October 1796, Moravian Archives.
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 73
our good friends in the assembly," 26 in particular a Mr. Parsons, asking
that the exemption be maintained while assuring the Assembly that
Moravians would continue "to pay our part in money to the tasks of the
country." 27 The exemption was continued. -Community officials also
petitioned the governor to make Schober a notary public to serve the
community. 28 He was asked to aid in the collection of debts and to mediate
in minor legal quarrels between Brethren. 29 In short, Gottlieb's legal
service as a Salem resident became increasingly significant in the 1790s,
both to the management of the community and to local citizens.
Along with these activities, Schober continued to rise in prominence
as a town leader. He served on trie Board of Overseers beginning in 1790
and was assigned tasks typical of all members of that body. He counseled
Peter Yarrell and George Ebert about their debts and financial problems.
He was directed to warn Heinrich Blum about possible exclusion because
of a drinking problem. He counseled Charles Bagge who was disap-
pointed at not getting the position of storekeeper when his father,
Traugott Bagge, died. Schober was given continuing responsibility to
collect funds to care for the increasing number of beggars who went from
door to door asking for money. 30 He also collected fees for the local
schools from parents who were sometimes a little slow in paying. While
relations between Schober and church officials were usually congenial
during this time, there was occasional friction. One such instance can be
inferred from the following board discussion:
Since Brother Schober is often absent from the Collegium, we came to talk
about the necessity with which all members of the Collegium should regard
their meetings and never be absent without serious reason. Otherwise, we
cannot reach the purpose of this Collegium. It was also said that all the
resolutions of the Collegium should be supported by all of its members. 31
26 Board of Overseers, 8 July 1794, Moravian Archives.
27 Board of Overseers, 1 July 1794, Moravian Archives.
28 Board of Overseers, 17 February 1795, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
29 Board of Overseers, 19 July 1796, Fries and others Records of Moravians, 6:2570;
Board of Overseers, 19 December 1797, Moravian Archives.
30 Congregation Council, 8 August 1792, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
6:2480-81; Board of Overseers, 16 July, 15 October 1793, Moravian Archives.
31 Board of Overseers, 14 April 1795, Moravian Archives.
74 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
Most disagreements of the period seem to have centered around Scho-
ber's speculation in land — an activity which consumed a great deal of his
time in the 1790s.
During the years following the Revolution, speculation in undevelop-
ed lands was a favored activity for Americans with excess money or good
credit who wished to multiply their material prosperity rapidly. Many
prominent planters were barely able to support their families by agricul-
tural means, but made and lost great fortunes by dealing in undeveloped
territory on the western frontier. George Washington, for example, even
though political responsibilities limited his speculative participation,
owned 71,000 acres of western lands at his death. 32 Richard Henderson of
North Carolina owned vast tracts in what became Kentucky. For early
aristocrats, land speculation was not gambling, but was the proper pur-
suit of the gentleman of English heritage. Timothy Pickering purchased
Pennsylvania land in 1785 for one shilling per acre and valued the worst
of it at two dollars per acre in 1796. 33 Even if extensive landholding was a
badge of wealth and nobility, its purpose was usually a quick profit. Few
speculators of this period intended to enhance land values by develop-
ment or improvement. They depended on a growing population and
America's material prosperity to add value to their holdings. Sometimes
the lands were sold to European individuals or companies who in turn
would distribute to prospective settlers. Profits could be high, but after
1795 laws limiting the size of grants along with higher taxes discouraged
the larger speculators. If money was made on one deal, it was usually
reinvested and many times lost on the next.
Although Gottlieb Schober could not begin to compare in wealth with
a Washington, Henderson, or Pickering, it was certainly an evidence of
general prosperity that he began to participate in these gambles in the
1790s. Moravian officials deplored the activity and were particularly
concerned about Schober. In connection with the Board discussion quoted
immediately above, the Overseers viewed Schober's external affairs as
"rather expansive and confusing" and asserted that "all this speculation
the cause of which is the greediness to become rich does not fit for
32 A. M. Sakolski, The Great American Land Bubble (New York: Harper and Bros.,
1932), p. 11.
33 Octavius Pickering and Charles W. Upham, The Life of Timothy Pickering (Boston:
Little, Brown and Company, 1867-73), 3:296.
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 75
brothers in this community at all." 34 It is quite possible that Schober's
involvement with the Mulberry Fields suit brought to his attention the
opportunities in state land grants. In 1793 Schober received four tracts
totaling 1,249 acres and purchased another 100. 35 The next year he
entered tracts of 600, 195, and 640 acres in addition to purchasing of a 200
acre claim filed by another individual. In January 1795 Schober paid 600
pounds entrance money and £33.12 processing fee on 40,000 acres,
location unknown, but likely in Surry county. 36 Another 500 acres in Surry
county was granted later that year. Schober usually had these tracts
accurately surveyed at his own expense and then awaited the opportunity
for resale at a profit. The activity did require investment money and was
very risky, but the reward was also handsome. Much of the land was
quickly resold through brokers in northern cities. In 1795, ten tracts
containing 16,500 acres were sold to Timothy Pickering for $1,750. Three
others went to Charles Cist of Philadelphia for £145.19, and another to
William Gerhard of the same city for 15. Still another tract of 236 acres
was sold to Joseph Billing for 150 pounds. 37 In 1797 Schober registered
four grants totaling 770 acres and in 1800 two more of 100 acres each. His
list of taxable real estate in North Carolina for 1802 showed 3,379 acres in
Stokes County in twenty tracts, 35,379 acres in Surry county, and 100 in
Cumberland county. In 1814 he still held 3,200 acres; in 1824, 2,860; and
in 1827, 3,210 acres. 38
Sometimes Schober profited, sometimes he lost. One land broker
writing to William Lenoir concerning similar lands and complaining that
Lenoir's price of twenty-five cents per acre was too high, declared
You [Lenoir] seem to labour under the same Malady Mr. Shouber did, when
he had his Land for Sale a couple Years ago — namely that of being afraid I
J4 Board of Overseers, 7 April 1795, Moravian Archives.
35 Land grant, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives; Stokes County Deed Book
1:373; 2:50, 60. State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina. Hereinafter
cited as North Carolina Archives.
36 Receipts, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
"Stokes County Deed Book 2:90, 115-20, 138, 142, 143, 247-50, North Carolina
38 Taxable Property of G. Shober in Stokes County owned 1 April 1802; also tax lists for
1814, 1824, and 1827, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
76 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
would make too much profit by it — in consequence he lost about £3000
Sometimes Schober acted as an agent for other large speculators. In
one such case, Gottlieb represented Christian J. Heeter of Philadelphia
who was seeking land for a European investor. Schober approached a
western North Carolina land company, owned by William Lenoir,
Charles Gordon, and Hillair Rousseau, that held grants in Wilkes County
for 700,000 acres. Schober visited the land to
lay off in one or more Tracts such part of the seven hundred thousand acres
aforesaid in such manner as he might think best, to include the most firtle
[sic] land and Conveniently Situated for making Settlements for Farmers
and Michanicks [sic]. 40
After two tracts of 100,000 acres each were laid off, Heeter was to offer
the land to his Amsterdam company at twenty-five cents per acre.
Schober would collect an agent's commission only if the sale was made.
Negotiations continued on this transaction in 1797, but it would appear
from Schober's letters that nothing materialized. 41
By far the most valuable — potentially at least — of Schober's specula-
tions was his tract of Indian land in Maryland. In 1796 Gottlieb became an
equal partner of Valentine Arnett in a 10,000-acre tract in Dorchester
County on Maryland's eastern shore which Arnett "bought of the Nante-
koke tribe of Indians." 42 But the state had already claimed the land as
vacant and sold it to other individuals, making Schober's investment very
risky. The affair began with Schober acting as Arnett's attorney for the
recovery and sale of the tract at a commission of fifty percent of the
proceeds. A year later Arnett sold his entire interest to Schober who in
turn earnestly set about to establish the validity of the claim. Through a
minister friend who also had some legal connections, John Sergeant,
Gottlieb sought to locate members of the Indian tribe who would testify
to the land sale. Several had moved to New York, "near Niagara" and
"Christian Jacob Heeter to William Lenoir, Lancaster, 2 January 1797. Lenoir Family
Papers, n426, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina Library,
Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Hereinafter cited as Southern Historical Collection.
■ ,0 William Lenoir to Christian Jacob Heeter, Lancaster Town, Pennsylvania; 25
November 1796. Lenoir Family Papers n426, Southern Historical Collection.
41 Gottlieb Schober to Mess'rs Hillair Rousseau and Co., Salem, 26 August 1796. Lenoir
Family Papers n426, Southern Historical Collection.
42 Document in Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 77
securing their legal testimony would be expensive. Another Delaware
Indian, by then living in Massachusetts, "frequently went to Meriland
[sic] and is well acquainted with all his people, and can give every
testimony you wish." 43 Sergeant also mentioned a "Tusharara Indian"
who might help in the case. Schober approved the gathering of deposi-
tions from these Indian sources at considerable expense and then retained
a flamboyant young Maryland attorney, Patrick H. O'Reilly, to pursue the
matter in the courts. How Schober came to employ O'Reilly is unknown.
The young man was a member of the Maryland assembly and was eager to
take the case. At the outset he wrote
I am sorry to find you indulging in any apprehensions of my not begin able to
attend your business. ... If I were as full of business as I could wish to be I still
could find time to attend to you especially as I feel myself particularly
interested in preventing a distant gentleman who kindly honored me with
his confidence (though a stranger) from regretting it. . . . At the end of the
suit you will say that though I am a man of paultry talents, yet I am faithful,
zealous and industrious, and whatever abilities I may possess were always
exerted for the benefit of those who confide in me. 44
In 1801 O'Reilly wrote that defendants did not appear at the preliminary
hearing to establish their claim. 45 Since Schober's case depended in part
on the testimony of several elderly people, O'Reilly began to take legally
valid depositions in case they died before the suit was heard. In December
1801 the defendants asked for an out-of-court compromise, but O'Reilly
judged that Schober's response was too generous and might convince the
defendants that they could win the suit. 46 O'Reilly and Schober built their
case around the fact that the Indians were actual occupants of the land
with a valid title "elder and paramount to that of the English settlers." 47
Moreover, the Maryland assembly of 1698 and 1704 had recognized
Indian rights, establishing their possession of the identical tract which
43 John Sergeant to G. Shober, New Stockbridge, 10 March 1800, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
44 P. H. O'Reilly to Gottlieb Shober, Annapolis, 30 April 1801, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
45 P. H. O'Reilly to Gottlieb Schober, Annapolis, 19 November 1801, Schober Papers,
Old Salem Inc. Archives.
46 P. H. O'Reilly to Gottlieb Shober, Annapolis, 10 December 1801; P. H. O'Reilly to
Gottlieb Shober, Annapolis, 29 January 1802, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
47 P. H. O'Reilly to Gottlieb Shober, Annapolis, 12 January 1802, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
78 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Schober now owned. The best witness uncovered was an Indian named
Welch, although there was some question of the acceptability of his
testimony in Maryland courts. 48 Still, O'Reilly was confident of the
outcome and estimated the worth of the tract in excess of $200,000. The
case was continued in 1803 as defendants retained counsel to prepare
their case. It was scheduled for the 1804 term and Schober anxiously
awaited news. Finally he heard: case dismissed because Schober had not
provided security to cover the cost of court should he lose. 49 In a letter to
Daniel Bussard, a friend and District of Columbia attorney who had
declined to take the suit initially because of age and distance from
Annapolis, Schober declared that the fault was O'Reilly's because "I
remitted to O'Reilly $250 which he was to deposit in a persons hand to
enable him to be my Security." 50 But he had failed to accomplish this
task. 51 Schober was livid with anger; he was afraid to dismiss O'Reilly lest
"he may betray the Secrets of my cause." Moreover, Gottlieb had paid
over $500 in security money, expense reimbursements, and fees. He
complained that he had already spent $2,500 on the suit, and it all seemed
for nothing. Schober requested Bussard's help in locating another agent,
promising as a fee one-eighth of the final recovery. O'Reilly was to be
kept on the case at a similar fee, but inactive in the actual pursuance of the
matter. Schober believed that his case was valid, and that early reinstate-
ment would bring success. On hearing of Schober's displeasure, O'Reilly
immediately wrote a bitter letter, declaring that the suit dismissal was not
his fault and accusing Schober of misrepresenting the truth. "I do not
deem it quite equitable that the whole burden of the miscarriage should
fall upon me, as the unfavorable issue of the business was not fairly
48 Schober expressed concern regarding a 1717 Maryland law which prohibited the
testimony of Indians and blacks in any matter involving a Christian white person. O'Reilly
assured Schober that this law did not apply to the case, since the matter in question
pre-dated the testimony law. As a precaution, however, O'Reilly sponsored a bill in the
1802 Maryland assembly to allow Indian testimony. The bill was killed, but O'Reilly still
believed that the suit was not hampered. P. H. O'Reilly to Gottlieb Shober, Annapolis, 30
January 1801; Annapolis, 12 January 1802, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
49 G. Shober to Daniel Bussard, Salem, 5 July 1805, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
50 G. Shober to Daniel Bussard, Salem, 5 July 1805, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
51 Daniel Bussard to Gottlieb Schober, George Town (date torn away but likely early
1805) Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
Practicing Law and Speculating in Land • 79
attributable to me." 52 He claimed that a proposal made to Gottlieb's son,
Nathaniel, who traveled to Maryland to attend to the case, had been
unduly rejected. Since now off the case,
I deem it unequal that the expenses incurred by me in the course of my
agency shall fall entirely on me, neither can it be reasonably expected that my
immense trouble and fatigue should go uncompensated. 53
He asked for a final accounting from Schober, but instead of demanding
final compensation, said,
as I cannot turn my hearts blood into dollars, and cannot collect money from
those who owe me, so I cannot promise you the cash instantly, but will
pledge myself to remit it or pay it to your order as soon as so much comes to
my hand and must urge you not to press me unreasonably. 54
O'Reilly insisted that all the money Schober had sent had been used on
the case, but he never referred to the security guarantee which Schober
alleged he was to arrange. He concluded with a veiled threat similar to
what Schober had feared, demanding to be released from futher service
"leaving me at perfect liberty to have whatever other Agency in the
business the exigencies of other parties may require and my own inclina-
tion prompt." 55 It would seem that Schober had been ill-served by a young
lawyer who was in personal financial straits. Schober's next agent in the
matter, a Mr. Evans, wrote,
I almost believe O'Reilly never attempted to go to N. York, and never was
taken ill of the Yellow fever, where he said he was, and in short never
concerned himself about the Suit, but only made out of you what money he
Still confident of success, Schober himself traveled to Georgetown to
confer with Brussard and Evans in October 1805. While there, a letter
arrived from home revealing the family's outlook on the case. Johanna,
Schober's nineteen-year-old daughter, did not want Gottlieb
52 P. H. O'Reilly to Gottlieb Shober, Herring Bay, 5 November 1805, Schober Papers,
Old Salem Inc. Archives.
56 Quoted in Nathaniel Shober to Gottlieb Shober, Salem, 18 October 1805, Schober
Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
80 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
to spend your Estate in prosecution of the Maryland business, and she joins
with us all to beg you not to loose any dinners on that Account, as we trust we
shall still be able to live, if even that should be eventually lost. 57
The trip came to nothing. Although no reinstatement occurred, Schober
did not give up. In 1816 his son Emmanuel traveled to Baltimore on
another matter and checked on the status of the suit. Until his death,
Schober continued to assert the validity of his claim. He bequeathed to
Emmanuel "any thing . . . obtained, procured and recovered on my
purchase of Land in Maryland from the Nantekeke Indians as recorded in
Dorchester County there." 58
The account of land speculation, especially the Indian land, has carried
Schober's life across the turn of the century. When the Moravian leaders
criticized Gottlieb's financial dealings in 1795, they could not have envi-
sioned the difficulties that land speculation would ultimately cause him.
But they were perceptive enough to realize that activity of this nature was
detrimental to Gottlieb's service to the community. They could see easily
enough that Schober had all the problems he needed even within tiny,
uncomplicated Salem, without inviting others from outside.
58 Gottlieb Schober, Last Will and Testament, 19 June 1835, Moravian Archives.
The Congregation House in Salem, 1771
(artist's conception by Stewart Archibald)
VJottlieb schober was never an organized, logical person. His
mind and his interests were constantly flitting from one thing to another.
Driven by a desire to expend his talents well, he tackled new projects
while leaving loose ends on other responsibilities. Yet he had a quick
mind driven by tremendous energy. Perhaps all the affairs fit together in
Schober's own perspective, but for the observer in 1795 — or now for that
matter — they seemed hectic.
The paper mill continued to prosper even though it required consid-
erable attention. Schober was sole owner of the property, and Johann
Volz was his supervisor and chief operator. Volz and his family occupied a
house near the mill which had been purchased by the mill from Volz
himself. He rented the house and seemed content until sometime in early
1794. After a disagreement with Schober, Volz determined to leave the
mill but wanted to keep the house. Schober resisted, appealing to the
Overseers to get Volz out. 1 Volz would not leave until Schober paid him
for the house, but Gottlieb refused; he evidently had additional time on
the note and maintained that he needed the house to attract a new
'Board of Overseers, 17 June, 14 October 1794, Moravian Archives.
84 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
manager. Even finding a new supervisor caused the owner difficulties;
when Schober suggested a Mr. Rothhaas, the Overseers
thought that it is not advisible that such people who have many connections
to the community and yet do not have the right spirit of the Lord should not
live so near to the community. 2
Volz and Schober continued to negotiate. Gottlieb raised the house rent
substantially to force Volz either to resume supervision of the mill or
vacate the house. Only the objection of the Overseers prevented this
tactic, but a stalemate ensued which lasted until 1802.
Schober also maintained his position as Salem's tinsmith. During this
period business was consistently good, but Schober's apprentice probably
did most of the actual work. William Eldridge labored for several years in
this capacity until appointed an instructor in the boys' school in 1794. 3
Schober immediately took another young man, Christian Reich, to learn
the trade. 4 Despite some unrest among several apprentices in Salem in
1795, Schober's relation with Reich seemed to have been agreeable. By
1796 the young man decided to establish himself as a householder.
Schober was "willing to grant him £70 annually and free lodging as long
as he continues the tinsmith shop on the account of Br. Schober." 5 Reich
would essentially be a salaried journeyman under the monopoly granted
to the master tinsmith. To accomodate the expanded business, Schober
needed another house and suggested that of George Ebert. Ebert had at
this time lost control of his financial affairs. He was heavily in debt and
drinking badly, causing the Overseers to consider a civil suit for debts "so
that he might be made willing to sell his house in peace and pay his debts
with that and leave the community." 6 Schober offered to buy the property
outright or would lease it if the community treasury bought it. The
Overseers hesitated to allow any individual to own two houses in Salem;
Schober's penchant for speculation gave them further pause. A complex
compromise was finally reached. The house would belong to the com-
munity treasury, but Schober would provide the original purchase price of
2 Board of Overseers, 17 November 1795, Moravian Archives.
'Minutes of Elders' Conference, 12 November 1794, Fries and others, Records of
^Board of Overseers, 16 December 1794, Moravian Archives.
^Board of Overseers, 25 October 1796, Moravian Archives.
6 Board of Overseers, 19 July 1796, Moravian Archives.
A Controversial Community Leader • 85
$500, for which he received a bond from the treasury, and would assume
responsibility for repairs and outfitting as a tinsmithy. Schober received
interest on his "loan" and then paid an annual rent of ten shillings, eight
pence. He maintained total control of the Salem tinsmithing with Reich
under him. 7 The arrangement showed the extremes to which the Over-
seers would go to protect established monopolies while providing ways
for younger men to enter the village economy, and, on the other hand,
their caution lest a monopoly should propel a master into affluence.
Schober's renovation on the house included painting the frame dwel-
ling with a new kind of paint to "help make the house more fire proof
from the outside." 8 The formula came from an Almanac and consisted of
three parts unslaked lime, two parts ashes, and one part fine sand, all
mixed with linseed oil. Gottlieb's experiment must have looked nice and
weathered well, for the new paint was later discussed for the new church
in Salem to replace the unsatisfactory paint made from white lead and
The arrangement between Reich and Schober lasted for three years.
In 1800, Gottlieb reported "that the small demand for tinware" required
him to request permission "for the work of a coppersmith also." 10 It was
soon determined that Reich would become the coppersmith, no longer
under Schober's management. Perhaps Reich realized that the demand
for tinware would remain limited, and that he would never prosper with
Schober taking a portion of all profits. He bought the house in which he
was making tin products and soon supplied new copper wares previously
unavailable in Salem. 11 The willingness of Schober to allow the journey-
man his independence appeared somewhat unusual. Schober probably
saw in the separation still another chance to expand. Within three
months of the break, Schober submitted plans "to build a new workshop
for the tinsmith trade to which a room for the post office will be added." 12
Hardly a wise move if business was bad!
7 Board of Overseers, 25 October, 1, 8, 22 November 1796, Moravian Archives.
8 Board of Overseers, 28 February 1797, Moravian Archives.
'Board of Overseers, 17 April 1798, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2610.
10 Board of Overseers, 27 May 1800, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2653.
"Board of Overseers, 3 November 1801, Moravian Archives.
12 Board of Overseers, 6 October 1801, Moravian Archives.
86 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
The expansion of the tinsmithy was accompanied by growth in other
aspects of Gottlieb's business affairs. In 1797 he employed a non-
Moravian to work as a bookbinder, adding another product to his articles
for sale. 13 At about the same time, the poor financial conditions of
Johannes Reuz became a scandal in the community. He drank too much
brandy and neglected his household. The Overseers, for the sake of his
family, suggested that someone manage his affairs. Schober was given the
task. He assumed Reuz's debts of 800 pounds and as security held the deed
for his house and a claim on his tools and materials. He purchased raw
goods from which Reuz would continue to make hats for Schober to sell in
his tinsmith shop. From the proceeds, Reuz's community obligations
were paid and his family provided for. 14 Schober received a manager's fee
as well as adding still another item to what was rapidly becoming a store.
Within a few years, Gottlieb was selling or bartering — in addition to tin,
paper, and hat products — lace, beads, shawls, India calico, molasses,
bandanas, scarlet flannel, black patent buttons, pins, thread, tapes, thim-
bles, fish hooks, rings, velvet, cloth bonnets, penknives, Sicily wine,
French brandy, and plaster of Paris. 15
Schober was still Salem's postmaster, although he tried to give it up in
1795 because, he said, "the income is too low." 16 He continued as warden
for the poor: arranging for meals and lodging in the tavern, a horse for a
destitute traveler, and transportation for a man trying to get to Pennsyl-
vania. 17 He confined to be involved in community musical affairs, regu-
larly taking turns with three others in playing the organ for worship
services. In 1794 he supervised arrangements for the purchase of a new
organ made in Lititz, Pennsylvania, by David Tanneberger and Johann
Bachman and installed in the meeting hall in 1798. The cost was met by a
freewill offering to which Schober himself contributed five pounds. The
same year this respected musician was asked to teach piano lessons in the
boys' school. By 1799 he was supervisor of all music in community
M Board of Overseers, 27 June 1797, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2591.
H Board of Overseers, 20 June, 4, 1 1 July 1797, 13 February 1798, Moravian Archives.
'These articles appeared on invoices from various wholesale merchants to Schober
between 1800 and 1803, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
16 Board of Overseers, 1 December 1795, 27 January 1796, Moravian Archives.
'"Board of Overseers, 17 May, 14 June 1796, Moravian Archives, 23 January 1798,
Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2608.
A Controversial Community Leader • 87
services and began preparing for a most significant community event. 18
Since 1797 the Brethren had been constructing a new church on the
town square just north of the meeting hall. The consecration was set for 9
November 1800. Over 2,000 members and visitors gathered to the
musical welcome of trombones and a choir singing: "This is a day which
the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us come before His
presence with thanksgiving and rejoice before him with psalms." 19 One
especially appropriate hymn of Zinzendorf was chosen by Schober to
voice antiphonally the dedication of the people:
The Saviour's blood and righteousness
Be of this house the glorious dress;
Here be His word to all made known,
His Sacrament blessed to His own.
And may all who assemble here
Find peace, united hearts to cheer,
Together know their highest good,
His merits, and His precious blood.
O may this be a house of grace,
Where power from on high finds place,
That unto poor and sinful men
His pardon be proclaimed. Amen! 20
After sermons and hymns of dedication the Brethren had a lovefeast for
the 2000 worshipers. Schober had earlier offered to provide tin cups for
beer, although he probably had not anticipated so great a crowd. It was
indeed a day to be remembered.
It was probably during this period of heavy involvement in musical
affairs that Schober purchased a fine piano for his home. The instrument
was made by Christian R. Heckewelder in Pennsylvania and described as
"a Forte Piano of Wild Cherry Wood." 21 The piano was the most valuable
article in the sale of household goods after Schober's death.
18 Schober's musical activities were mentioned in the Congregation Council, 19 June
1794, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2508; Elders' Conference, 19 August
1795, 17 April, 25 May 1799, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2541, 2628-89,
Congregation Council, 28 October 1800, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2656.
19 Salem Diary, 9 November 1800, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2947 -48.
20 Ibid. Since Schober had charge of all music for the service, it seems valid to conclude
that he had a role in the selection of this particular hymn.
21 Receipt in Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
88 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
When Gottlieb purchased his piano he perhaps had in mind his
growing family. After Nathaniel, Johanna, Emmanuel, and Anna Pau-
lina, a third daughter arrived on 22 September 1794 and was baptized
Hedwig Elizabeth. In 1797 Benjamin was born but died the same day. The
family was completed with the arrival of Maria Theresa on 3 June 1799. It
was no surprise to the Overseers when Schober requested to employ a
young girl as a maid for his wife, to build an extra bake oven near his
house, and to lease an additional outlot for pasture and an orchard. 22
Nathaniel, the eldest son, was rapidly becoming a young man. From
childhood his physical constitution was weak and his parents feared for
his survival. Still he was a joy to the household and often delighted the
family with "infantine plays . . . and loving expressions toward the Friend
of Children." 23 Early he learned to read and write and at eight years of age
requested to leave the home to lodge in the academy. Gottlieb and Maria
reluctantly gave consent on condition "that he would solemnly covenant
to become a Servant of the Lord, and apply all his acquirements to that
purpose." 24 He entered the boys' school in Salem housed at that time in
the single brothers' house and then moved to newly completed facilities
in 1794. Nathaniel and five other older boys studied under William
Eldridge, Gottlieb's former apprentice, until 1800. During this period his
physical constitution was further weakened by a severe attack of pleurisy,
significantly dimming his dream of seminary training and service to the
church. But the Schobers were proud of this son of whom it was said that
his honesty and punctuality in all his Transactions was proverbial, and his
obedience to his Supervisors and particularly to his Teachers caused him to
be beloved by them — and generally all that knew him esteemed him. 25
In 1800, he moved into the single brothers' house to follow his father's
footsteps as assistant room supervisor for the smaller boys. 26
Johanna, the oldest daughter, also took advantage of the Moravian
schools in Salem although she remained in the Schober household.
Reading, writing, reckoning, geography, and the practical arts of a poten-
22 Board of Overseers, 6 May, 1 April 1794, 9 August 1796, Moravian Archives.
23 Memoir of Nathaniel Shober, 1818, Moravian Archives.
24 Ibid. This was unusual because most Salem children resided with their parents until
about fourteen years of age.
25 Memoir of Nathaniel Shober, 1818, Moravian Archives.
26 Salem Diary, 8 January 1800, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2642-43-
A Controversial Community Leader • 89
tial wife and mother constituted her early training. She was quick to learn
and excelled in her studies so that when the Girls Boarding School opened
in Salem in 1804 she was one of its first teachers. Hannah, as she was
affectionately called, was the natural leader among the children of the
household. She was more outspoken than the others and inherited the
quick temper of her father.
The religious atmosphere of the Schober household made deep
impressions on the children. Nathaniel responded early to descriptions of
Jesus' love for children. Anna Paulina later wrote:
At a very tender age I experienced the powerful influences of the Holy Spirit
in my heart. I distinctly remember, at the age of three-four years an ardent
longing I had to go to the Saviour, and be with him forever. How often have I
wished that happy state of mind might have continued longer, but my
natural lively and volatile dispositions soon effaced these impressions. 2 "
For Emmanuel's twelfth birthday, Gottlieb composed a religious message
in verse. It reminded Emmanuel that "the years are gone when one was
guiltless," and he should "Be inscribed under Jesus' banner and not in jest;
promise that you will love Him and be His forever more." The last verse
bespoke a father's longsuffering love:
So grow and become a noble man, so that we — in return for all the trouble we
have taken with you — can be eternally happy that the Lord gave you to us,
that we can joyfully call you [ours] until they lay us in the grave. 28
While his own family was growing toward maturity, Gottlieb did not
forget his aging mother. She still lived in Bethlehem and was alone since
the passing of Gottlieb's father in 1792. She too died in 1800, but her son
managed visits to her in 1794, 1795, and 1798 as he made business trips to
purchase sheet tin and articles for trade in exchange for beeswax, ginseng
root, and tobacco.
The happiness of a growing family stood at times in sharp contrast to
Schober's public life. His quick temper and quicker tongue still plagued
him; his occasional verbal altercations with several Brothers recalled the
problems of his youth. For example, he quarrelled with Abraham Hauser
regarding the latter's administration of community funds in maintaining
public roads. Schober took the matter to the justice of the peace where
27 Memoir of Ann Paulina Herman, 1867, Moravian Archives.
28 Manuscript in verse dated 12 February 1801, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
Archives. Translation by Elizabeth Marx.
90 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Hauser admitted his negligence, but then returned to Salem "making
much ado about the matter and calling Brother Schober a perjurer
throughout the neighborhood." 29 Gottlieb stood his ground and proved
his testimony before the Overseers. He was ready to "sue the denuncia-
tions of Hauser" unless he apologized publicly and retracted his state-
ments in every place they had been spoken. The Overseers agreed
wholeheartedly and lectured Hauser on the true behavior of a Brother. 30
While Schober was right and was advocating the proper use of commun-
ity money, the quarrel was unsavory and even a retracted charge of
perjury had negative effects.
Schober's most serious disagreement occurred in 1798 with Gottlieb
Strehle. The two men, both members of the Overseers, argued so force-
fully, including very coarse language, that both were suspended from the
Board and from Holy Communion. 31 According to Schober, hard feelings
against him in the community had arisen because of his work as a lawyer,
a vocation considered by some as unsuitable for a Moravian. In addition,
Schober had several times mentioned to the Overseers that Strehle, the
town butcher, treated people rudely. But the Overseers had done nothing.
On this particular occasion, while Gottlieb was out of town, the Schober
children went to Strehle to buy meat
and in their presence he called me in effect a good-for-nothing deceiver; ... I
went to him in order to tax him roundly. It happened that a Single Sister was
present . . . [and] I did not spare anything, but threw up to him his behavior
without scolding. The consequence was that he first picked up a bone and
when I turned that away, he then came at me with a knife, spit in my face and
hit me in the face. All my power of recollection was required; I was fully
conscious, spit after him and then he got Title — an individual of his own
kind [who] grabbed me by the neck and dragged me out. 32
Schober immediately resigned from the Overseers, expecting an impar-
tial investigation and, with a witness present, anticipating no trouble. But
instead of that, the Lot was misused (as I call it) and in spite of the
unprecedented atrocity against me, he and I were publicly excluded from the
29 Board of Overseers, 12 December 1797, Moravian Archives.
30 Board of Overseers, 19 December 1797, Moravian Archives.
31 Board of Overseers, 17, 24 July 1798, Moravian Archives; Elders' Conference, 25 July
1798, Moravian Archives.
32 Gottlieb Schober to [Johann F. ] Reichel, Salem, 1 5 September 1 800, Schober Papers,
Old Salem Inc. Archives. Translation by Elizabeth Marx. This account was written two
years after the event as background to still another controversy.
A Controversial Community Leader • 91
brethren's fellowship and also from the Collegium. This gave me such a blow
that it will remain into eternity; I have said it and I continue to say that no
God can act in that way and therefore it is a card game and the work of man. . .
Church leaders talked to both men, especially regarding the need for good
conduct among community leaders. When the heat finally cooled, both
men were embarrassed about their actions. They ultimately returned to
communion but, in Schober's words, "the scar remains." 33 This petty
incident, even considered among a long list of positive contributions,
highlighted a trait in Schober without which the picture would be incom-
plete. He possessed a volatile personality, often speaking before he
considered the impact of his words. His tongue ruptured a number of
otherwise productive relationships and more than once gave church
leaders pause regarding Schober's fitness as a brother.
Above and beyond his roles as papermaker, tinsmith, postmaster,
musician, community leader, father, and sometimes congregation gadfly,
Gottlieb Schober was Salem's only attorney at law. The task involved
some unhappy experiences, illustrated by his administration of Johann
Reuz's affairs. Reuz began drinking again in 1798 and hiding money from
Schober's accounting. Gottlieb protested to the Overseers that he was
using his own funds to provide for the family and receiving nothing for
his services. 34 But the practice of law had its good days also. In 1799,
Stokes County reappraised taxable property. Joseph Kerner assessed
Salem's buildings and Moravians stated, "We have heard that the houses
in his county were taxed higher than those in the neighboring counties." 35
Schober was requested to petition for redress and to seek a complete
exemption for the sisters' house. When other Moravians in Wachovia
also expressed resentment, a delegation went to Germanton and suc-
ceeded in reducing the assessment. The Salem sisters' house, but not the
brothers' establishment, was declared tax free. "We shall," the Overseers
opined, "hear more about the taxes on the occasion of the coming
elections." 36 Another petition was circulated by Schober the following
year to persuade the county court to declare the bridge over Peters Creek
33 Ibid. See also Elders' Conference, 25 July, 5 September 1798, Moravian Archives.
34 Board of Overseers, 1, 21, 28 August 1798, Moravian Archives.
35 Board of Overseers, 23 July 1799, Moravian Archives.
36 Board of Overseers, 30 July, 6, 20 August 1799, Moravian Archives.
92 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
west of Salem a public responsibility. Again Gottlieb's efforts were
successful, relieving the Brethren of maintenance of the structure. 37 In
July 1802 Schober was asked to research the law codes regarding the
legality of contracts made by the community treasury, especially those
existing with the administrative body of all Moravian's secular affairs in
Europe. 38 Schober continued his involvement in the Mulberry Fields case,
although at a reduced level. In 1799 he took depositions of several
Moravians, including Traugott Bagge and Adam Steiner, designed to
explore the nature of the Brethren's economy and policies on the holding
and use of land. The extensive transcripts, written incidentally on Scho-
ber's own paper by Nathaniel Schober acting as secretary, included
cross-examination by William Lenoir and other attorneys for both sides.
As usual, the case was delayed again and again, much to the frustration of
Schober and the Moravians. 39
A new dimension of the legal profession emerged in 1801. Schober
increasingly represented non-Moravians in matters relating to the com-
munity and its inhabitants. Letters from a David Marck of Petersburg,
Virginia, requested that Schober secure the former's inheritance from his
mother who died in Salem. Since settlement was delayed, Schober was
asked to secure an advance of $500 to relieve Mr. Marck's financial straits.
A few months later he wrote again, requesting another $500 with which
to purchase a house. The source of these funds was not mentioned and
since the estate was unsettled, they may have come from Schober himself.
Marck trusted Schober to "take care of the terms [of the loan] and make
them just and equitable." 40
Despite occasional conflicts, the period around the turn of the century
included Schober's most important services to the community and conge-
nial relationships with church officials. He served on the Board of
Overseers from 1790 through 1802. He became a member of the Heifer
Conferenz when he replaced the deceased Traugott Bagge as official host
to important visitors to the community. Schober's relationships with the
"Board of Overseers, 29 April, 22 July 1800, Moravian Archives.
iS Heifer Conferenz, 24 July 1802, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2710.
,9 Reports to Unity Elders' Conference and Unity Vorsteher Collegium from Christian
Ludwig Benzien, Salem, 1 1 February 1803, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
40 D. Marck to Gottlieb Shober, Petersburg, 22 May, 3 June, and 25 October 1801,
Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
A Controversial Community Leader • 93
world outside and his acquaintance with important state officials made
him a natural selection for this post. Since Moravians were always careful
that visitors received a true impression of village life and attention to
their needs, Schober's responsibility was an important one.
In financial matters, Gottlieb also had reason to be satisfied with his
progress. When he married he needed to delay payment on existing debts
and borrow more money to set up the tinsmithy. By the turn of the
century he owned one of the finest homes in the village, a farm outside of
town, several negro slaves, about 40,000 acres of undeveloped North
Carolina land, 10,000 acres of valuable Maryland real estate, a new shop
housing the tinsmithy and post office, and a paper manufactory. Since tax
listings usually understated real market value, Schober's financial status
can be evaluated only in comparison with others of the time. Tax lists
showed him still trailing Traugott Bagge in taxable assets, although
gaining rapidly. 41 Bagge owned much less land but his was more valuable.
Schober had clearly surpassed most of his peers in Salem. In 1802, a
voluntary subscription was taken to improve the main street of the town.
Most of the seventeen contributions were for one or two pounds. Schober
gave five pounds, the highest single contribution; only the town doctor
approached this generosity, and no other person in Salem gave even three
pounds. 42 At forty-six years of age, Schober was approaching the most
productive years of his life with two prosperous crafts and a growing
profession contributing to the family income. He had business connec-
tions in Philadelphia, Petersburg, Charleston, Raleigh, Salisbury, and
numerous smaller towns. Stokes county now had a population of 1 1,026
and neighboring Surry was close behind with 9,505, making Salem the
commercial center for more than 20,000 people. The village itself was
also growing in the modest manner which Moravians desired. From a
1773 census of 132 persons the village had grown to 222 at the time of
Schober's marriage and to 281 in 1802.
Even the nature of Salem's commerce was changing under the pres-
sures of free enterprise. As discussed in Chapter Two, the congregation
treasury of early Salem retained the store, tavern, pottery, grist mill, two
tanyards, and several large farms, and managers were hired to operate
4, Tax lists of 1799 for Gottlieb Schober and Traugott Bagge, North Carolina Archives,
Raleigh, North Carolina.
42 Board of Overseers, 14 September 1802, Moravian Archives.
94 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
them for the community benefit. All enterprises needed subsidies to
offset inflation during the Revolution. Soon the farms were engulfed in
problems and were leased to private individuals. In 1780, the Brethren
agreed to give the deficit-ridden tannery to the operator for an annual ten
pounds "recognition fee" to the community account. 43 By 1791 the grist
mill fell victim to heavy local competition and the lack of a good miller. 44
At the turn of the century, only the tavern, store, and pottery were
financially healthy and blessed with good managers. These communal
monopolies were still protected and most private initiative was discour-
aged. For example, Charles Bagge, disappointed at not succeeding his
father as Salem's storekeeper, sought permission to open his own store.
When it was denied, he moved to Friedland, a country congregation, to
begin his enterprise. 45 Christopher Vogler had to decline a government
contract for guns because the Overseers would not approve the necessary
non-Moravian workers in that craft. 46 The Moravians did allow enough
economic freedom for the separation of the lazy from the efficient, but
they believed that the survival of the town would be endangered if no
restraints were maintained. It was obvious, however, that private initia-
tive was gradually gaining momentum, and Schober was not the only
person whose economic fortunes were turning upward. And prospects
for the future appeared even brighter.
In 1802, however, a conflict of major proportions marked the end of
easy congeniality and the onset of a strained relationship between Gott-
lieb and the community. Frustrations were already fermenting by 1800
when Schober wrote a long letter to Johann F. Reichel, a Unity represen-
tative in Europe, just prior to the General Synod of 1801.
We fin Salem] have been school children long enough kept in fear under a
school master; instead of that, love should be reigning. . . . Salem is growing
rapidly, our children do not have any presumable prospect for the determi-
nation of their life; anyone who would gladly offer himself completely to the
Lord's service must see himself forgotten by the Unity's Direction because of
the distance and anyway the offices are mostly filled from Europe. There is
no goal towards which a thoughtful young person can strive. . . . Our
43 Board of Overseers, 4 July 1780, Moravian Archives.
44 Board of Overseers, 12 July 1791, Moravian Archives.
45 Salem Diary, 20 August 1801, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2675;
Elders' Conference, 29 January 1806, Moravian Archives.
46 Board of Overseers, 17 July 1798, Fries and others. Records of Moravians, 6:2612.
A Controversial Community Leader • 95
Brothers' House is very much alive in material things and a bad prospect for
spiritual up-bringing. But there are more girls than boys here and there the
spiritual out-look is even worse; I live near to the Sisters' House and
sometimes hear talking how their Helper does not know anything about
human misery and depravity and thus is not able to give advice. . . . This
congregation could be enlarged and thus many a one who does not feel a call
to offer himself for the service of the Lord still would have the prospect of
living in the Congregation. For that [ to happen ] there must be a worthwhile
wholesale business through which samples of our manufactured goods could
be distributed; I maintain it is possible and also would be profitable for the
Unity. In fact, several years ago I wrote out a prospect for that, but like all
such things which demand possibilities that look to the future, [so] it was
with this. They are too glad to be satisfied with the current stable income and
with the hope that "things will go along as long as I am alive or remain
here," and so the doors are finally closed. . . .
This is then what flowed into a pen out of a full heart. I would not dare to
speak in this way to our workers; they would try to drive me out of the
Congregation as a scorner. ... I have often sought an opportunity here to talk
things out but have never found one. ... I beg most sincerely that you will
pardon any strong expressions and [be assured] that I mean well with the
Savior and with the Brethren's Church, and I hope He holds me close to
himself and grants me new life and suitable zeal for service. 47
This remarkable letter showed that Schober's dissatisfaction was not
with the system but with the administrators. No evidence suggested that
Schober was critical of Salem itself. In fact, an earlier letter to non-
Moravian Evan Alexander in 1793 revealed that Schober both understood
and accepted the theocratic nature of the community. 48 All congregations
of Moravians, he explained to Alexander, "constitute one Body" because
"all have one calling & Aim (viz. propagation of the Gospel) and are
bound to one Rule and discipline." Ministers are appointed to superin-
tend the congregation, while occasional "synods consider deliberately
whether our doctrine is preached in its purity & try to tie the Bond of love
& peace binding us tighter." Schober continued to describe how the synod
was constituted, including representatives from each congregation, and
pointed out that the Unity Elders' Conference acted as the executive body
between synods. Local congregations were governed by "Laws of the
Synod (I say Laws, for we value them as such)," implemented by local
47 Gottlieb Schober to [Johann F.] Reichel, Salem, 15 September 1800, Schober Papers,
Old Salem Inc. Archives. Translation by Elizabeth Marx.
48 Gottlieb Schober to Evan Alexander, Salem, 20 January 1793, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
96 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
leaders. "In short, it is the fundamental Maxim among the United Brn.
that Principals & Order shall Govern & not Men." God's active leadership
in the Brethren's affairs was guaranteed, Schober believed, by the lot.
Nothing would indicate that Schober's mind had changed by 1802, except
that the lot could be used too often in minor matters. The course of events
revealed that his quarrel was not with principles of governance, but with
men. Schober looked to the General Synod of 1801 to correct the human
abuses which he observed in Salem.
The Unity Synod of 1801 was firmly controlled by the more conserva-
tive elements of the church who felt that the ideals of the pioneer
Brethren were being compromised as the church related to the world. 49
This trend was noted in both Europe and America; church officials in
Salem often lamented that their own community was no exception. For
example, the annual summary for the year 1794 stated:
It is true that we entered this year not without concern over various things,
and that at its end there remains sadness over the situation here and there in
our congregations, yet we must be happy over [the Lord's] government
during the year. His thoughts were sometimes not as our thoughts, and on
several occasions He required more sternness to prevent impending digres-
sions from the path of righteousness, especially in the congregation of
Similar expressions were present in the summaries for 1795, and in 1797
it was noted that "among our youth the signs are fewer that they would
enter into the true life and a full understanding of their call of grace." 51
There is little doubt that this assessment was accurate, although in
comparison with Christian-professing society at large, Salem remained
an enclave of spirituality. Although the local Elders' Conference had the
final responsibility for maintaining the spiritual purity of the community,
all citizens participated in this task to a degree. 52 In the early years, some
local authority was vested in the Congregation Council composed of all
49 Hamilton and Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church, p. 177.
50 Memorabilia of the Congregations in Wachovia for the year 1794, Fries and others,
Records of Moravians, 6:2495.
"Memorabilia of the Congregations in Wachovia, 1797, Fries and others, Records of
"See this author's article The Role of Dissent in Community Evolution among
Moravians in Salem, 1772-1860," North Carolina Historical Review 52 (July 1975):235-
A Controversial Community Leader • 97
adult communicants. With the reorganization of 1779, however, ex
officio members increased, and communicants only elected representa-
tives. By 1790, the council of fifty-seven persons included only twenty-
one elected members. 53 The council could not, therefore, be described as
the "voice of the people" in a democratic sense, yet it did constitute the
point of entry of whatever purely local independence existed. In reality
that independence was minimal; the council could discuss local problems
and make recommendations to the Elders and Overseers but could enact
no regulations on its own. It did elect the Overseers, subject always to the
confirmation of the lot. The progressive voices in the General Synod of
1801 advocated a decrease in the use of the lot in the formation of local
governing bodies such as the Congregation Council and the Overseers. 54
But the Synod stood firm: the means of sustaining the theocratic govern-
ment were maintained and even strengthened. A higher ratio of ex officio
members on the Congregation Council was mandated, thereby effectively
reducing the expression of local independence. This was hardly what
Schober and other progressive Salem citizens had hoped for.
When the report of the General Synod arrived in Salem in 1802, the
community reorganized according to the new mandates. The new Con-
gregation Council included seventy-two members, of whom only twenty-
eight were elected by the communicants. 55 One of its important tasks was
the selection of the Overseers. During the election a controversy burst
forth with Schober as usual squarely in the middle. The records were left
unusually ambiguous on this event, forcing inferences when clear detail
would be preferred. Such speculation is imperative, however, because the
controversy colored Schober's relations with Salem for the remainder of
his life. Once again, Gottlieb's temper lighted the fuse.
In early 1802, Schober accused Samuel Stotz, a congregation official,
of misusing congregation money — specifically buying coffee for the
Lovefeast at two pence per pound but charging the account three pence.
Evidently the entire pound was not used so it was prorated at a higher
level. 56 The congregation officials supported Stotz, so Schober solicited
"Elders' Conference, 7 December 1779, Moravian Archives. See also Fries and others,
Records of Moravians, 3:1330-31.
"Hamilton and Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church, p. 177.
"Congregation Council, 8 November 1802, Moravian Archives.
"Gottlieb Schober to [ChristainL. ] Benzien, Salem, 12 May 1802, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives. Translation by Elizabeth Marx.
98 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
the support of others — twenty-one married brothers agreed with him.
Schober demanded a complete accounting of all monies according to
published regulations of the Unity. The accounting was made and all was
in order. Schober admitted his mistake and publicly apologized. 57 Soon
afterward, the election of Overseers was held. As in the past, the Congre-
gation Council voted for any Brother and the seven highest were to be
submitted to confirmation by the lot. Schober received the fourth highest
number of votes. When consulted, he stated
that he really had no desire to be elected to the Aufseher Collegium because
he might give offense on account of his temper, but on the other hand he did
not have any real joy either in declining in case the Savior would wish to
designate him for it. Therefore, he was leaving it up to the [Elders']
Conference to take action in this according to their good judgement. How-
ever, since the Conference had no joy in deciding anything alone in this
matter, it was unanimous in presenting to the Savior the following question
in the lot with Yes and No: "In view of the declaration of Bro. Gottl. Schober,
should he be taken into consideration anyway in the question to the Lot
regarding the members to be selected for the Aufseher Collegium?" The
answer was No. 58
No antagonism was evident regarding the election itself or the use of
the lot. But something unrecorded in the minutes was said about Schober
in the meeting. It could have related to Gottlieb's charges against Stotz.
Or, perhaps some members still questioned whether Schober's practice of
law was a proper activity for a brother. 59 Whatever the topic, Gottlieb
interpreted the conversation as an impeachment of his character and a
shadow cast on his previous services to the congregation. But for once he
held his tongue. Two weeks later the newly elected Overseers reluctantly
agreed to seek an appointment from the state making Schober a justice of
the peace for Salem. It was pointed out that he "does not agree to the
community orders entirely" but the officials "did not object generally to
the candidacy of Brother Schober for this office, mainly since we do not
know anybody else." 60
By April, Stotz and Schober were once again at odds. And again
Schober wrote Johann F. Reichel, this time at the latter's request. The
58 Elders' Conference, 2 November 1802, Moravian Archives.
^Heifer Conferenz, 22 February 1804, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
60 Board of Overseers, 16 November 1802, Moravian Archives.
A Controversial Community Leader • 99
letter revealed the depth of Gottlieb's bitterness. He was upset because
Salem citizens had not been given the opportunity to elect a delegate to
the 1801 Synod as was their right by Unity regulations.
We were not even once asked whether we wanted to elect a delegate, and I
declared myself at that time publicly and directly against such a procedure.
That was the first time at which not only Stotz but presumably the majority
of the Elders' Conference were offended and the result will not have failed to
follow: to say and to write to Europe that I am a restless trouble-maker; the
subsequent events indicate this to me. 61
Schober continued to say that he wrote a letter to the Synod about the
matter, but did not send it because he was quietly informed by a congrega-
tion leader that Stotz would likely be moved to another congregation by
the Synod. Therefore, Schober wrote, he remained quiet despite "mali-
cious public treatment" by local leaders and Stotz in particular. He
decided that nothing could likely be done, but
I cannot and will not be considered a rebel, nor as the least member of the
Brethren's Unity — and as this has been proclaimed, I have resolved to write
to the Unity Elders' Conference and ask for an investigation, but want to ask
for your kind advice. A discussion here in Salem would be fruitless and I
forbid it — Stotz once approved the way I was treated and condemned me and
he would be acting very inconsistently if he decided differently now, and so
my complete conviction remains that Stotz has not acted as he should have
and not until he recognizes that, keeps better accounts and shows himself
inclined to reconciliation . . . can one have confidence. But since this cannot
be decided here, it may be only decided in eternity who acted faithfully. 62
In May, it was reported that Schober "is still very bitter against
Brother Stotz" and has resigned as host for visitors and director of
community music. "At this occasion, it was declared once more clearly
that all accusations he brings out against Brother Stotz are not true at
all." 63 For another month the controversy continued and only the Heifer
Conferenz succeeded "in removing all the difficulties between [Schober]
and the community with the great help of the Lord, mainly the quarrel
between him and the community direction of Brother Stotz." 64 Ostensibly
satisfied, Schober's resentment lingered and was only thinly veiled. He
61 Gottlieb Schober to [Johann F.] Reichel, 12 April 1803, Schober Papers, Old Salem
Inc. Archives. Translation by Elizabeth Marx.
"Board of Overseers, 17 May 1803, Moravian Archives.
"Board of Overseers, 18 July 1803, Moravian Archives.
100 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
persisted in resigning from the responsibilities he held and at the next
election of Overseers removed himself from consideration saying that he
wished "to refrain from such offices." 65
While many details of this matter were not clearly recorded, perhaps
intentionally to protect the innocent, the ultimate effect on Schober was
clear. Never again was his confidence placed in the Salem leadership
without inner reservation. Certainly he was no innocent victim in the
affair. His accusations against people were frequently unjust or totally
exaggerated. Moreover, he consistently pushed congregational regula-
tions to the edge of legitimacy and sometimes beyond. But he believed
that Salem was ruled by principles, not by men. He believed that Salem
could adjust itself to the changing demands of time while maintaining the
dynamism of the Christian ideal. For this man, service to God sprang
from immediate personal convictions rather than from the ideas
expressed by the previous generation. He never claimed perfection, but
was determined to serve aggressively to the best of his abilities and trust
that God would forgive his mistakes. The battle of 1802-1803 was the
most serious conflict which ever erupted between Schober and his native
church. Despite the reconciliation, the trend which developed in Scho-
ber's subsequent years bespoke his true feeling. More and more his
attention and energies were drawn to matters outside the community. He
later served Salem in important legal matters, but only, in language that
Schober would not have disdained, at the request of God and not simply
the request of congregation officials.
5s Congregation Council, 18 December 1803, Moravian Archives.
to State Senator
It would be incorrect to interpret the controversy discussed in
the previous chapter as precipitating a decisive break between Schober
and Salem. By the middle of 1803 both sides professed reconciliation. It
was decided that the appointment of Schober as justice of the peace would
be submitted to the lot. When the answer was "Yes," Gottlieb felt
somewhat vindicated or at least believed that God had shown His satis-
faction. 1 Schober assumed the office in March 1803 with some hesitation
since it would prohibit his practicing law before the county court, and he
would also lose the office of postmaster. 2 But the new legal position
conveyed increased local prestige and may have offered a reasonable
financial incentive from fees. Moreover, he had just secured a license to
practice law in the Superior Court of North Carolina. 3 On balance, the
judicial position was a positive step with enough social responsibility to
pacify his need to serve the community, yet one in which he could avoid
tangles with community officials.
'Elders' Conference, 12 January 1803, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:27 '34.
2 Elders' Conference, 19 January 1803, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2734.
^Receipt for payment of ten pounds for license for Superior Court, 1803, Schober
Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives; Board of Overseers, 18 July 1803, Moravian Archives.
102 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
The North Carolina judicial system had changed very little since
colonial days. At the bottom of the system was the justice of the peace,
who exercised limited civil and criminal jurisdiction. He, along with the
sheriff, was the most visible symbol of justice in the backcountry.
To these magistrates, the general police of the counties is chiefly committed,
as they have authority to cause criminals, and other disturbers of the peace to
be arrested; and if the offense is small, to fix the penalty; but if the offense is
too great to be brought within their jurisdiction, they commit the offenders
to prison to be reserved for trial before the proper tribunal.'
Schober and other justices of the county together held the court of
pleas and quarter sessions, hearing cases involving taxes, roads, licensing
taverns, and general law and order. Moravian records mentioned only a
few of Schober's activities in this regard. A non-Moravian arrived in his
wagon at the Easter service in 1 803 to hawk "gingerbread and brandy" to
the worshipers; Schober was requested to prohibit such peddling. 5 In
1804 he was "asked to lend us his help as he did last year. We wish that no
cake and ale is offered in the streets." 6 Schober aided the Overseers in
securing the appointment of an acceptable supervisor of the local roads.
He helped several poor people of the county secure financial help to
relieve their worst problems. For as long as Gottlieb was active in the
legal profession he administered the duties of this office, gaining respect
of individuals both within and outside the community.
The year 1804 brought other significant events to Schober's life.
Professionally, the most important of these was the renewal of the
Mulberry Fields suit. Judicial processes had, since 1795, moved slowly but
inexorably toward the supreme tribunal of North Carolina. Early in 1804
the Moravians were advised that the case would come to a final decision
either that year or the next. As the attorney who knew more than anybody
else on the case, Schober was asked to resume this legal battle on behalf of
the Brethren. With wounds still fresh from comments concerning his
profession, Schober declined to become involved. In 1803 he had been
passed over in favor of General James Welborn as the Moravian's repre-
sentative in the suit 7 and now, convinced that his services were not
'Hazen, Panarama of Professions and Trades, p. 125.
^Congregation Council, 14 April 1803, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2/ '41.
6 Congregation Council, 19 January, 22 March 1804, Moravian Archives.
"Heifer Conferenz, 21 March 1803, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2739.
From Lawyer to State Senator • 103
appreciated, he became stubborn. Duncan Cameron, a prominent Hills-
borough attorney, was retained, but Christian L. Benzien, the Unity
administrator for Wachovia since the death of Frederic W. Marshall in
1802, again "expressed his earnest wish that Br. Gottlieb Schober would
again take part in this case . . . which is so important to the Unity." 8
Benzien even wrote personally to Schober asking that he reconsider.
Gottlieb's response to Benzien and the conference revealed the depth of
remarks made by various Conferenz members have been to the effect that
because of [my) legal work they [do] not consider [me| a Brother, and [I
have] determined never to serve the congregation or the Unity in that way
again unless expressly directed by the Lord. 9
It is impossible to separate the "sour grapes" from sincere conviction.
That some Brethren had these opinions of Schober was not denied; to
him they challenged the very essence of his religious convictions. He had
wished fervently to serve God in the ministry, and, that desire being
thwarted by church officials, he had determined to serve the Brethren as
legal advisor. For any important church leader in Salem to spurn what
Schober considered his religious service to God was not an easily forgot-
ten matter. Now he could in good conscience say "no" to the church's
request, but he would not say "no" to God. The lot was taken: "The
Saviour approves that Br. Gottlieb Schober shall be asked to serve as our
attorney in the cases in court." 10 With enthusiasm replacing reticence, he
plunged headlong into the case. Within ten days he was on his way to
Superior Court at Morganton in company with Duncan Cameron. 11
Despite a flurry of activity in late 1804 and frequent exchange of letters by
Schober and Cameron in 1805, substantial progress in the suit was slow.
Only in 1808 would the case again be heard by the Supreme Court, and by
that time Gottlieb's stature in the legal profession had been considerably
enhanced both in Salem and across the state. Perhaps the most important
result of these trips to Morganton was the suggestion by several friends
that he should become a candidate for the Senate of North Carolina. 12
^Heifer Conferenz, 22 February 1804, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2777.
"Salem Diary, 2 March 1804, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2763.
12 Elders' Conference, 30 May 1804, Moravian Archives.
104 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Before considering such a momentous development in Schober's
career, other events in Salem involving the Schober household in 1804
demand a brief review. The most joyous occasion in Salem since the
dedication of the new church was the opening of the Girls Boarding
The education of young people in Salem dated back to the beginning
of the town. At that time schools were designed exclusively for the
children of citizens of the community. Occasionally during the 1790s,
Moravians received requests to board and educate the children of outsid-
ers in these schools, but the Brethren feared the consequences of such an
endeavor. About 1800, community officials began to discuss the possibili-
ties more favorably, and in 1803 the lot was affirmative. 13 A building to
house sixty female students with their teachers was designed to stand on
the square, immediately south of the congregation house. Word spread
rapidly through North and South Carolina, whereupon "prominent gen-
tlemen" encouraged the Moravians to hasten the completion of the
project. 14 In July 1804 the institution accepted ten students; two of them
were from Salem and included Anna Paulina Schober. 15
The two children of the congregation in the Boarding School, and the rest of
the little school girls, were urged to pray that the Saviour might give them
grace to set a good example in all respects to the girls from elsewhere. 16
By 1805 the enrollment rose to forty-one, again with only two from
Salem. The institution charged thirty dollars per quarter for board,
lodging, and tuition. Pupils studied grammar and syntax, history, geo-
graphy, and ciphering in the morning hours while aesthetic arts, such as
drawing, painting, sewing, and music, occupied the afternoons. 17 Gottlieb
Schober had still another reason to be proud. His eldest daughter,
Johanna, became one of the six teachers in the school. 18 Overall, the
'Trances Griffin, Less Time for Meddling: A History of Salem Academy and College
(Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 1979), p. 34.
'■"Salem Diary, 31 May 1803, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2728-29.
'^Memorabilia of the Congregations of the Brethren in Wachovia for the Year 1804,
Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2761.
16 Salem Diary, 30 June 1804, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2767.
'"Lucy Leinback Wenhold, "The Salem Boarding School between 1802 and 1822,"
North Carolina Historical Review 27 (January 1950): 34.
'"Memorabilia of the Congregations of the Brethren in Wachovia for the year 1805,
Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2802.
From Lawyer to State Senator • 105
success of the Girls Boarding School exceeded the Brethren's most opti-
mistic hopes and it soon became an established part of the life of the
town. Ultimately, the school increased the Moravians' social interaction
with the outside world and was a definite factor in the gradual demise of
cultural isolationism. For Gottlieb Schober, this development could not
come too soon.
Other members of the Schober household seemed to be doing equally
well. After a children's epidemic sweeping through Salem in 1797 almost
claimed the life of three-year-old Hedwig, family sickness was minimal.
The household was vaccinated against smallpox when the serum arrived
in town in 1802. 19 Twelve-year-old Anna Paulina gave the family a scare
in 1803 when she fell into the mill pond and almost drowned. 20 Nathaniel
seemed about to realize his dream of service to the church in 1804 when
he accompanied Adam Steiner to the territory of the Creek Indians to
prepare for the opening of a new Indian mission. The two men left Salem
on 4 June and returned on 22 August, having covered 1,290 miles in
"great heat and scarcity of food, and other unfavorable circumstances." 21
Nathaniel's frail constitution withstood the journey well, but subsequent
trips proved too arduous for him. On one of them he was fording the
swollen Catawba River when "the rapid Stream took him with his horse
to within a few yards of unavoidable destruction, and only the presence of
mind given to him in the moment of danger preserved him from drown-
ing." 22 Ultimately, the Schobers and church officials became convinced
that the young man could not long withstand the rigors of missionary
activity. Emmanuel, the younger son, completed his education in the
community and was accepted into the single brothers' choir in 1805. 23 It
was thus with personal affairs in order, the family well and happy, and the
dispute with community officials behind him that Gottlieb entered the
Early Moravians in Wachovia voted regularly in all elections. Their
impact was maximized on several occasions when community leaders
19 Board of Overseers, 15 June 1802, Moravian Archives.
20 Memoir of Anna Paulina Herman, Moravian Archives.
2 'Memorabilia of the Congregations of the Brethren in Wachovia for the Year 1804,
Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2758.
22 Memoir of Nathaniel Schober, Moravian Archives.
23 Board of Overseers, 6 April 1802, 5 November 1805, Moravian Archives.
106 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
would strongly recommend certain candidates. 24 Some individual Mora-
vians ran successfully for the office of constable, and Frederick Miiller of
Friedland was a representative in the North Carolina General Assembly
in 1778. 25 The Assembly even met in Salem in 1781, although the
Brethren were hesitant when the request was first received. It ended as a
good experience for both the assemblymen, who were able to see the
Moravian way of life firsthand, and for the Brethren, whose cultural
isolationism thawed to some degree. The following year, again meeting
in Salem, the Assembly guaranteed the Moravian title to Wachovia and
encouraged them to enter more fully into the life of the state. 26 Traugott
Bagge represented Stokes County in the 1782 session but was defeated for
reelection the following year. George Hauser of Bethania served in the
North Carolina House of Commons most of the years between 1788 and
1796. Political activity among the Brethren declined around 1800, even
though Salem was an official voting place after 1801. Political arguments
and fights around the polls in 1803 caused Overseers to prohibit Brethren
from attending rallies. 27
Schober certainly observed these events and attitudes and used his
legal profession to make acquaintance with political leaders. He corres-
ponded with the North Carolina representative in Washington, Robert
Williams, inquiring about federal statutes on naturalization and citizen-
ship. Williams' request through Schober that his sister be allowed to live
in Salem and receive "instruction in music and the womanly arts" helped
provide the impetus for the Girls Boarding School. 28 Other acquaintances
had been made in the Assembly when Schober secured the loan to build
his paper mill. In early 1805 Schober wrote Gideon Granger, postmaster
general, and Joseph Winston, congressional representative, to request
that a proposed new post road from Washington to New Orleans pass
directly through Salem instead of passing a few miles away. Schober was
"Elders' Conference, 7 March 1781, Moravian Archives; Board of Overseers, 6 July
1790, Moravian Archives.
25 Salem Diary, 18 March 1778, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1224.
"Congregation Council, 26 July, 12, 30 October 1781, Moravian Archives; Elders'
Conference 8 May 1782, Moravian Archives.
27 Board of Overseers, 3 August 1802, 15 August 1803, Moravian Archives.
28 Elders' Conference, 10 November 1801, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
6:2682; Board of Overseers, 15 September 1801, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
From Lawyer to State Senator • 107
to mention "the profit to the post through the many passengers which
would come to our Boarding School." 29 This suggested that the proposal
involved a coach rather than the usual postal rider.
Because of his acquaintances and activities on behalf of the commun-
ity, it was no surprise when Schober notified the Elders that
he has been encouraged by several friends to announce himself as a candidate
for the next assembly and [asked] whether the Elders' Conference would
have anything against his doing so. 30
The Elders were not pleased. They preferred that "no Brother hold such
an office" but agreed to an exception "because of our land affairs" and
especially since Schober's activity as a justice of the peace and attorney
had been previously approved. Whether Gottlieb ran unsuccessfully in
1804 is unknown. The records contain no information so it is probable
that he waited until the following year, when he stood for the North
Carolina Senate seat from Stokes County and won. 31 While there are no
records of the campaign, some aspects of Schober's political perspective
can be ascertained from a letter he received in 1802 from Benjamin
Rineham, fellow attorney in South Carolina. Although the political
philosophy is actually Rineham's, the manner of writing reflects prior,
agreeable conversation between the two men.
Our elections are just over, and have in general terminated in favor of
Republicanism. In the City of Charleston where the bulk of the Electors are
Foreigners — Engaged in Foreign Commerce — possessed of Foreign habits
and politics — in short being his Majesty's Liege Subjects — they have
returned Federal representation. This circumstance in my opinion affords a
strong proof of the comparative correctness and propriety of republican
principles — principles calculated to promote and extend the happiness and
prosperity of the great Mass of the American people, independent of British
or Gallic influence. It is a well known fact that Itinerant Merchants (if I may
call them so) whose principal object is to amass a fortune and return to their
favorite Monarchy to enjoy it, have too long poisoned and influenced the
politics of this Country. But the Spirit of 76 is revived. It has created a good
administration, of a Good Government — and may you and I long live in the
enjoyment of its beneficent influence. 32
2y Board of Overseers, 26 March 1805, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2818.
30 Elders' Conference, 30 May 1804, Moravian Archives.
31 Salem Diary, 8 August 1805, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2810.
32 Benjamin Rineham to Gottlieb Shober, Camden, South Carolina, 18 October 1802,
Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
108 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Schober would not likely have kept this letter had he not agreed with its
As reflected in Rineham's letter, national politics of the period were
dominated by two parties. The Federal party, inspired by Alexander
Hamilton, favored a strong national government controlled by the
wealthy and intelligent minority: the federal government should exercise
all needful power not expressly delegated to the states by the Constitu-
tion. The Republican party, looking to Thomas Jefferson as its leader,
advocated a democratic self-government by the masses of people: while
mistakes might be made, they could be corrected more easily and a
periodic revolution was not necessarily evil. Republicans sought to pro-
tect individual and state's rights from falling under an evolving oligarchy.
The central government should exercise only those powers specifically
given it and deal primarily with war and peace, foreign policy, and
matters affecting the nation as a whole. While several prominent North
Carolinians who served in the Congress were Federalist, the trend in the
state in the 1790s was toward Republicanism. The General Assembly
opposed the Federalist policies of assumption of the revolutionary debts
of the states, the creation of a national bank, and John Jay's treaty with
England in 1795. The leading North Carolina Congressman was Nathan-
iel Macon, a staunch Federalist; consequently the North Carolina delega-
tion in Washington did not always vote according to their instructions
from home. The General Assembly of the 1790s was clearly Republican
and, with two exceptions, elected Republican governors from 1789 to
1815. After the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800, Republicanism
triumphed to such a degree that North Carolina became a one-party state,
despite the continuing Federalist influence of Nathaniel Macon. 33
That Schober was a Republican is almost certain. He held two posi-
tions, postmaster and justice of the peace, which were subject to the
politics of the day. He had been treated well in the past by a General
Assembly dominated by Republicans. Therefore it seems safe to conclude
that he sought election on Republican principles with promises to be
concerned with local issues.
While remaining quiet, the Elders were pleased with Schober's vic-
tory. Christian L. Benzien wrote to church leaders in Europe:
33 Hugh T. Lefler and Albert R. Newsome, North Carolina: History of a Southern
State, third edition, ( Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1973 ), pp. 300, 302.
From Lawyer to State Senator • 109
Very likely [Schober's election] will be very useful for us just now, for
petitions are being circulated in various neighborhoods asking the next
session of the assembly to take away the freedom from drill and other militia
service from us, from the Quakers, etc/ 4
On 1 December 1805 Schober became the first Moravian to take the oath
of allegiance in the North Carolina Senate.
Much of the work of the Assembly was done in committees; as a
freshman member, Schober could expect a large amount of undesirable
work. Early in the session, however, he collected a plum. He made the
motion that a joint committee of the Senate and House be appointed "to
enquire into the propriety of establishing a State Bank." 35 When the
motion passed, Schober was named to the committee, chaired by James
North Carolina was the last of the original thirteen states to charter
banks. Private banks were finally established in 1804 in Wilmington and
New Bern amid considerable hostility from Republicans. These busi-
nesses lacked adequate management and immediately flooded the state
with paper currency, which rapidly depreciated. 36 Although banks were
considered Federalist projects, Schober's motion did not necessarily
reflect that philosophy. On a national basis, two hundred banks were
chartered by Republicans between 1800 and 1815. 37 North Carolina was
already behind other states, and many assemblymen believed that only a
state bank could halt the flow of worthless currency from private estab-
lishments. On 3 December the committee reported a bill creating a state
bank with capital stock not to exceed S400,000 to be sold at S50 per share.
The state was to take a significant portion while the remainder was
offered to the public. The bill contained careful restrictions to avoid a
proliferation of currency and provisions to establish an orderly financial
business. A third reading passed 43-12 on 13 December with Schober
voting affirmatively. The House also approved the bill, and it became law.
-^Christian L. Benzien to Unity Elders' Conference, Salem, 28 October 1805, Fries and
others, Records of Moravians, 6:2826.
^journals of the Senate and the House of Commons of the General Assembly of North
Carolina, 1790-1860, (Raleigh: State of North Carolina, 1861), 1805, p. 4. Hereinafter
cited as Senate Journal, 1805.
u, Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, p. 304.
<7 Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil
War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), p. 145.
110 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
The prominence of Schober's role in such salutary legislation was surpris-
ing; even as a freshman he had stepped boldly into the maelstrom of
politics. He presented the bank committee's reports to the Senate and
must have had a considerable voice in the bill's preparation. There is no
concrete evidence that he arrived in Raleigh with a proposal in hand, but
the Moravians had often expressed concern about the unstable currency.
Certainly Schober's motion showed prior consideration of the matter and
insight into the state's needs at the time. Perhaps he had been burned by
some of the depreciating currency!
In any case, chartering a bank was one thing; obtaining investors was
quite another. The fifty-dollar shares did not sell. In 1806, Salem's
community treasury decided to purchase "at least sixteen shares" in the
bank, but when they inquired, it was learned that "for lack of enough
subscribers, the Bank could not be organized, for our North Carolinians
have little conception of such things." 38 When the capital stock remained
unsold, the Assembly of 1806 was forced to repeal the charter. Five more
years would pass before the State Bank of North Carolina began business
in Raleigh, Edenton, New Bern, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Tarboro, and
Salisbury. The 1810 bill was not significantly different from its predeces-
sor, but by that time North Carolinians were ready for stability in
Gottlieb's other committee assignment was more drudgery than
excitement. He chaired the Committee on Divorce and Alimony. The
General Assembly retained to itself the power to grant or deny any
divorce in the state. Every year petitions came by the dozens; Schober
alone brought two with him to Raleigh. Every year after 1799 the
Assembly rejected a bill transferring the power to grant divorces to the
judges of the Superior Court. 40 An enormous amount of the Senate's time
was consumed in reviewing the petitions. Of the thirty-three considered
by Schober's committee in 1805, eighteen were granted, including the two
which Schober presented. For each case a bill of divorcement was passed
by the Senate on the committee's recommendation. It was indeed a
cumbersome procedure and a task in which Gottlieb took no pleasure. At
38 Christian Ludwig Benzien to Unity Elders' Conference, 21 October 1806, Fries and
others, Records of Moravians, 6:2869.
39 Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, p. 305.
40 Guion G. Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History, (Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 1937), p. 217.
From Lawyer to State Senator • 111
times of leisure, he began to consider how the antiquated practice could be
changed. He knew that North Carolinians were being forced to circum-
vent the law when family ties ruptured. In some cases where adultery was
confirmed in the mind of a spouse, he or she simply left the household.
These individuals sometimes "left for the West" or cohabited with
another person without bonds of matrimony. 41 The situation was rapidly
becoming intolerable, and Schober determined to turn his energies to its
In addition to chartering a bank and hearing divorce petitions, the
Assembly of 1805 considered other important legislation, not the least of
which involved the University of North Carolina. 42 Since that institu-
tion's opening in 1795, the majority of the faculty and trustees had been
Federalists. The school received no state money, but laws passed in 1789
and 1794 granted it the benefit of all land escheated to the state, including
property belonging to Tories. The Republican Assembly disliked some
trends at the university and repealed the land acts in 1800. Succeeding
sessions debated the issues further, and in 1805 a compromise was
reached: the escheated lands were restored to the university, in return for
which the Governor became chairman of the board of trustees and the
General Assembly was given power to fill board vacancies and to elect
fifteen additional trustees. Schober voted affirmatively on this
As a justice of the peace and an attorney involved in a major land suit,
Schober was well aware of the shortcomings of the North Carolina
judicial system. The biggest problem was the lack of a Supreme Court.
The Assembly of 1801 created a Court of Conference, composed of
Superior Court justices meeting in Raleigh to review any decisions on
which they disagreed. Three years later the Court of Conference was
made permanent, and in 1805 its name was changed to the Supreme
Court, Schober voting in the affirmative. He also introduced a bill to
prevent "dilatory pleas in courts of law." 43 The latter bill passed its first
Senate reading but was rejected by the House of Commons. 44
"Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina, pp. 220-21.
42 Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, p. 304.
4i Senate Journal, 1805, p. 23.
* 4 Journal of the House of Commons, 1805, p. 89.
112 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Altogether, Schober's first legislative session was an exciting expe-
rience for him. For a freshman senator, he had certainly participated
more than expected. But he did not return to Raleigh for the General
Assemblies of 1806 or 1807. Was he beaten in the election, or did the
press of affairs prevent him from running? Was he so disappointed at the
failure of the state bank to gain capitalization that he considered the
results of lawmaking a poor compensation for the effort expended? The
records only mention that the election occurred. 45 Given the Moravian
tendency to record almost everything locally which involved Moravians,
it would seem probable that Schober did not run for reelection. Perhaps
the clearest answer was contained in the events of the spring of 1806.
In May, Br. Charles Reichel related to the Overseers a letter in which
Gottlieb Schober accused a young sister of illicit sexual relationships. The
girl had been in Salem at least three years, probably coming from one of
the country congregations. She resided in the sisters' house and had
already been approved by the lot for service in the Girls Boarding School.
The Elders' Conference investigated the matter "with impartiality" but
"did not find anything that would justify such an indictment against a
person presumably innocent, an indictment that would probably ruin her
character completely." 46 The confidential matter leaked to the girl's
family, and Schober was threatened with a lawsuit for defamation of
character. He declared that he was ready to prove his contention in court
if necessary, but preferred that the matter be handled internally. He did
not necessarily want her excluded, "because it is always possible that a
Magdalene can become a good Sister," 47 but he did not think she should be
appointed to the Girls' School. The Elders felt that Schober was too harsh,
but he would not moderate his charges. Instead he set about gathering
evidence for a possible court case. He convinced a young non-Moravian
named Geiger to confess
that he had not only known and used her [ sexually], not only once but many
times, in which connection details made it believable.
Then under pressure from the Elders and the girl's brother, and with the
possibility of a lawsuit, Geiger denied his statements to Schober.
45 Salem Diary, 14 August 1806, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2852.
46 Board of Overseers, 6 May 1806, Moravian Archives.
47 Gottlieb Schober to Charles G. Reichel, 1 May 1806, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
Archives. Translation by Elizabeth Marx.
From Lawyer to State Senator • 113
So I went to [Geiger] and with difficulty brought him to an interrogation and
with serious and judicial demands to know only the truth, I was convinced by
his words that he had used her as a prostitute as often as he wanted to. From
other details which I had not known which came to light [it was evident] that
she had fornicated not only with him but with various [ones]. 48
But the young woman would admit nothing. And to Schober's amaze-
ment, the Elders refused to act against her without a confession. This
procedure disturbed Gottlieb almost as much as the misdeeds of the
The wench is supported by her supervisors in her meaningless lies, streng-
thened in her most impudent manner of life when she strolls everywhere in
the town, talks about the accusations impudently and relates her trespasses
to others, is acknowledged as gallant and as evidence of her innocence, and
although her impudence and lewdness flashes from her eyes and she runs
around the town always like a shameless wench, they say of her that she is
the only one who has an exemplary manner of life and these are the real
reasons for the discord in the Sisters' House. The Congregation leadership
declares her guiltless. 49
As expected, the gossip in Salem was heavy. Now Schober's own
honor and character came into question. It was reported that he "declared
that if the girl was not sent from the community within five weeks, he
would denounce her publicly as a whore and indict her at court." 50 Still
community leaders were adamant and prepared to defend the girl at
community expense. Schober and others were officially admonished
because their talk in the village "has done a lot of damage among our
youngsters who will lose all respect and obedience toward their elders and
teachers." Realizing that the girl would always be the subject of whispers
in Salem, the Elders decided to send her to a Pennsylvania community
"through which we are going to prove her innocence." 51 The implication
of this action and statement was that the girl's subsequent life would
prove her innocence or guilt. Schober continued to growl about the
damage to his honor and character, but after the girl left Salem in
September, the matter gradually died. In subsequent letters, Gottlieb
indicated that he was wrong in the manner of his accusation; he never
50 Board of Overseers, 13 May 1806, Moravian Archives.
114 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
admitted that the substance of his charge was incorrect. There was no
further mention of the girl's character in Pennsylvania.
This incident illustrated an unhappy trend occurring in Salem: moral
values were deteriorating among the younger generation. When early
Salem had occasional violations of community moral codes, quick and
final exclusions of the guilty provided a tight moral control on the
community. Just after the turn of the century, however, moral offenses
began to increase. Addiction to drink led to three exclusions around 1797.
Some others resisted the marriage procedures, preferring to select their
own mates. The community tightened regulations in 1803 in order to
avoid unnecessary association between single brothers and sisters on
daily business occasions. 52 The year 1806 was an especially bad year in this
regard. Several young brothers were caught stealing, and a total of five
persons were expelled for moral offenses. On 3 June church authorities
For some time we have regretted the free way of behavior of [two young
single sisters]. There have been some rumors lately against them and this
caused Br. & Sr. Reichel, together with Sr. Benzien to talk to them. It was
found that some of the items of these rumors were not true. On the whole,
however, they were guilty. They were warned in a serious but cordial way to
change their way of life or leave the community. Both of them promised to
improve in the future. 53
One week later a sign-out system was installed in the single sisters' house.
While this context of moral problems gave Schober's accusation
against the young single sister more credence, his failure to substantiate
the charges to authorities who would have believed reasonable evidence
left an unsavory aftertaste. Once again he had not controlled his reactions
and his vitriolic language left permanent scars. Still he did not learn. In
October Gottlieb accused Rudolph Christ of misusing donations given to
purchase new musical articles. 54 His abusive language and behavior led to
his suspension from Holy Communion with a stern lecture from the
Elders recalling his propensity to point an accusative finger too quickly.
At first Schober resisted but conversation with Christ established that the
"Congregation Council, 24 March 1803, Fries and others, Records of Moravians ;
"Board of Overseers, 3 June 1806, Moravian Archives.
"Elders' Conference, 1 October 1806; Board of Overseers, 7 October 1806, Moravian
From Lawyer to State Senator • 115
latter was guilty only of not consulting other organists before he made
purchases with the donated money.
The cumulation of successive errors on his part began to affect
Schober. His lingering bitterness was impairing his judgement; he consi-
dered resigning from his community responsibilities. He asked that the
lot again confirm his call to service. It appears that he realized his errors
and sincerely wondered whether he should continue. But the Elders
commended his faithful service in local and real estate matters. In the
words of Christian Benzien:
I deeply wish that everything which hinders Br. Schober in the performance
of such services with a happy heart could be eliminated. His desire to let
Christ be the judge [in the lot] does not please me. To the best of my
knowledge Br. Schober failed greatly during the last sad occurrences since
April or May. But after all, a poor human being can fail even with the best of
intentions. Oh how often do I have cause to beg Jesus not to enter into
judgement against this poor sinner.
Br. Schober can imagine that I am steadily before Christ about him, for I
should think he is completely sure of my love. The sinner's rod ought not to
be considered a disgrace among us, but should bind troubled hearts that
much tighter within the love of the sinner's friend."
Through the mediation of this dedicated man, the community and Gott-
lieb Schober were reunited with "a new spirit" in Holy Communion. 56
The following week he was once again at the organ for the worshiping
"Letter of Christian L. Benzien; the addressee is uncertain but probably either the
Elders' Conference or Schober himself. Salem, 6 October 1 806, Schober Papers, Old Salem
Inc. Archives. Translation by Grace F. Dollitz and the author.
56 Elders' Conference, 12 November 1806, Moravian Archives.
View of Salem from the West, 1787
(painted by Ludwig Gottfried Rede ken)
In comparison to the busy times of the past, the year 1807 was a
quiet one in the Schober household. Gottlieb realized that his uncontrol-
lable temper and tongue must be disciplined. His time was occupied by
the usual kinds of tasks of a tinsmith, mill owner, attorney, and justice of
the peace. He worked on the document for the indenture of apprentices to
close loopholes. 1 He negotiated with the Overseers concerning the build-
ing of a new westward road around the paper-mill pond. 2 Despite
sensitive issues in both areas, the "new spirit" of cooperation was evident.
The most important activity of the year was the acceleration of prepara-
tions for what the Brethren hoped would be the conclusion of the
Mulberry Fields suit.
The litigation had dragged interminably for both Moravians and
Schober. Prospects for final settlement had looked good on several
occasions, only to have the courts dash Moravian hopes. 3 Schober had
taken several depositions in 1799 to perpetuate testimony since the case
was stretching so long. In 1801 the lawyers argued before the Court of
'Board of Overseers, 27 January, 7 April 1807, Moravian Archives.
2 Board of Overseers, 23 June, 7 July, 22 September 1807, Moravian Archives.
? The Wilkes County Land Suit, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1416-17.
118 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Conference in Raleigh where judges agreed that the land did not escheat
to the state. They declared, however, that the original suit of Hugh
Montgomery against the inhabitants of the land should have included the
Moravians as complainants. Schober worked hard on the case during this
period, but Duncan Cameron presented the Moravian arguments before
the Raleigh Court. With victory appearing close, Salem authorities in
1802 decided to follow the court's directive and prepare a new suit for the
District Court at Morganton. Evidently Cameron and James Welborn
prepared the new bill; since Schober was at this time embroiled in heated
controversy, his participation, if any, was minimal. He returned to the
case in 1804 determined to see the matter to conclusion. Correspondence
between the attorneys increased substantially as the new bill was
amended several times by court direction. Since other individuals had by
this time purchased parts of the disputed land from the original defen-
dants, Cameron and Schober had to make sure that everybody received
this is a labor which might if our adversaries had the spirit of accommoda-
tion in them be dispensed with but as we have no favors to ask or to expect,
we must do everything which the ordinary course of business points out as
necessary to be done. 4
With this kind of thoroughness, the preparation proceeded. Cameron
I am much afraid that your interest may suffer from the weakness of my
talents and want of knowledge, but while I make this declaration, permit me
also to assure you that nothing shall be omitted on my part which can in the
smallest degree hasten the decision of the suit and bring it to a termination
favorable to your interest. 5
A few days later Schober acknowledged receipt of the amended bill and
Cameron's letter, responding that
It only cost one hundred and eighty cents [postage], but the confessions in
your letter which resemble Christian meekness very much and which convey
an idea as if you were doubtful of your talents to do justice to our cause is
alone worth that cost. 6
A friendship was beginning which would increase considerably over the
4 Duncan Cameron to Gottlieb Schober, Hillsboro, 28 June 1804, Moravian Archives.
6 Gottlieb Schober to Duncan Cameron, Salem, 7 July 1804, Moravian Archives.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 119
The correspondence resumed in 1805 with Cameron directing his less
experienced colleague in the needful steps of preparation. While perhaps
seeming tedious to a layman, the letters reveal the complexities of the
case and give a basis to judge the legal skill of Schober. The letters also
contained a succinct summary of the Moravian argument. Cameron
After having perused and considered the Copies of Lenoir's & others'
Answers to the last amended Bill I think a "general replication" may with
safety be put in to them — of this you can give Notice to Mr. Henderson, and
then proceed to take Testimony in support of the material Allegations in the
Bill — I am of the opinion that the fact of the Land being granted to Cossart as
Agent and Trustee of the Unitas Fratrum may be safely rested on the
intrinsic evidence furnished by the Grant and the Survey attached to it — the
Grant evidently appears to have been made by Earl Granville by way of
gratuity & it is equally clear that Cossart in his individual capacity had no
claim on his Bounty or Justice; the Unitas Fratrum however had a very
strong demand on both, of this Earl Granville seems to have been sensible,
and endeavored by executing the Grant to fulfill that demand, and to make
retribution for the loss they had sustained by purchasing a vast tract of his
poor & unsaleable Land — It will be important to prove the notariety of the
Moravian title or claim to the land, and the partial possession which I am
informed they had of both Tracts — it is however unnecessary for me to
direct what proof should be sought after and obtained as your knowledge of
the Subject is more ample than my own. 7
Schober spent a large part of May in Wilkes County and upon his
Yesterday, I returned from Wilkes where the whole last week was taken up
in taking our depositions, my aim was to prove general Notice of the
Moravian claim before the War, confessions of the defendants that they
knew of our claim, before they entered the land or purchased, and that we
were in possession before Montgomery purchased, and since, of part of each
Tract, all of which I think is sufficiently proven and when at leisure, shall
send you an extract of each proven point — When we had concluded, I had
some nocturnal conversation with Lenoir on the Subject of the dispute, in
which by some ambigious [sic] expressions I found that something was
hanging over our heads, which for want of sufficient foresight would be fatal
to us. I could not divine what that was, but, in conversation I had with one of
the possessors of the Land on my way going home, I found that by a
conversation he has had with Allfred More since he is Judge that the Judge
told him that we could never recover as we had never been in legal posses-
sion "and that the Deeds under which we claimed were not registered in due
Time, that we could not prove the Trust except by Moravians who are
interested & c." all the points he had mentioned we had sufficiently consi-
"Dun' Cameron to Gottlieb Shober, Hillsboro, 14 April 1805, Moravian Archives.
120 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
dered, but about the Deeds nothing had been considered — As soon as I came
home I examined the Deeds, and they are registered March 23, 1772. Mr.
Bagge swears that the Deeds had arived from Europe at the end of the Year
1770 or in the beginning of the year 1771, that he delivered those deeds to
the Registerer of Rowan to be registered in March, 1771 — by all which it
however appears that they were not registered in one Year after their arrival
in this County as the Law requires —
This Sir is the cause of sending the bearer to you express, to know your
opinion, whether we can nevertheless proceed or stop short — or how the
defect can now be remedied if at all. ... if this is incurable, by evidence or
court, can a legislative sanction do any thing to cure it, and would they do it
during a depending Suit?
Just now another thing strikes me, perhaps that if proven would show an
impossibility of the Deeds being proven in Time — in 1771 the regulation
were in town, & perhaps the papers were all taken to a safe place for
Two days later the messenger returned with Cameron's response
which "eased me of three quarters of my pain respecting the registration
of our Deed." Schober too had been searching; he discovered
an act of Assembly 1770 Ch. IX which I believe governed our People at the
Time, as this Act does not say it shall be registered, but "tendered or
delivered to be registered" But . . . there still remains a quibble to combat.
Lenoir was in the Assembly in 1787 and if you read the XXIII Chapt, sect II
you will see, I trust, a none efficacious cloven foot [a loophole favoring
Lenoir's position]. 9
Another tangle Schober uncovered was whether the deed registration
in Rowan County was valid when the land actually lay in newly created
Surry County. While these were minor points, Schober knew full well that
the ultimate decision might swing on such a point. Lenoir was deter-
mined to explore every possible legal maneuver to validate his own
claims so that Cameron and Schober could afford to leave no possibility
untouched. It could probably be proved, Schober mused, that
in 1771 April & May the Regulation was at its highth [sic J, so that perhaps
Surry County did not begin to act as a created being before the regulation
ceased to exist, if you think this will be necessary I will collect proof to that
8 G. Shober to Duncan Cameron, Salem, 21 May 1805, Moravian Archives. The
"regulation" refers to a local rebellion against crown authorities in England. The Regula-
tor Movement centered in Alamance County, but touched many places in central and
eastern North Carolina in 1771 and 1772.
9 G. Shober to Duncan Cameron, Salem, 23 May 1805, Moravian Archives.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 121
After this flurry of letters, Schober turned to the time-consuming task
of gathering his evidence. He carried the major burden of preparation in
this regard, corresponding with Cameron only when the latter's expe-
rienced counsel might help. Lenoir and the other defendants dragged
matters as slowly as possible — or so it seemed to Schober — so that in
1806 depositions were still being taken. In that hectic year of Schober's
life, he spent a total of twenty-one days in Wilkes County gathering
evidence. Costs of traveling in those days were shown in vouchers which
Schober submitted, such as one for 27 August 1806, covering eight days
and totalling SI 6.81. This included board for two men and their horses,
one pipe and tobacco, two glasses of whiskey, one pint of wiskey, one
quart of rum, and two extra meals. 11 A shorter trip cost $12.12 for
"Yadkin Ferry, Huntersville, Catawba Ferry Crossing, Oats at Mattaf-
fey's, Lawrence's overnight expenses in Morganton, a tavern bill of $5.37,
returning at Cockron's Feeding, Mattaffey's overnight, and Mr. Lane for a
Horse. " n
Schober described his activities on these trips in a letter to Benzien:
When Lenoir's days [of examination of witnesses] began, I expected to hear
a great deal of fine swearing — On the first day he only began after two
o'clock and in three days only examined five witnesses, the first four were
only examined to discredit one of our witnesses and if possible to accuse G.
Welborne of subornation of perjury, it therefore became me to cross exam-
ine them sharply and have in my opinion succeeded to destroy the effect of
their testimony by their own words. On Wednesday he had summoned the
same witness which we had examined on Saturday before and he and I
belabored him until midnight but it turned out nothing to his purpose. 13
Schober was satisfied that the evidence proved
everything we alleged in the bill in support of our title excepting the power
of attorney from F. Wm. Marshall to J. M. Graff. Judge McCoy swears that
there was one in existence, that he proffered it in Wilkes County to be
seconded, that after some referrals it was done & c. But on record nothing is
In 1807 the judicial system of North Carolina was reorganized so that the
case was shifted to the Court of Equity in Iredell County. It was finally
"Document dated 27 August 1806, in Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
12 Document dated 16 March 1805, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
13 G. Schober to Reverend C. L. Benzien, Salem, 22 June 1806, Moravian Archives.
^Gottlieb Shober to Duncan Cameron, Salem, 28 February 1806, Moravian Archives.
122 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
heard in 1808. Schober was well prepared, but the defense was also able to
spring some surprises. Defense counsel Henderson pointed to the lack of
proper registration of the deed in Wilkes County, and, while Schober
countered this with precedents from similar cases, the court referred the
matter to the North Carolina Supreme Court. Defense as expected also
attacked the power of attorney granted from Marshall to Graff.
I was . . . prepared ro prove ... it was lost but unfortunately a few days before
we went to Statesville the original was found in an old pigeon hole and ... on
the back are endorsements by Judge Spencer that it was in the year 1779
proven before him by the subscribing witness, that with an order for
registration. I deemed it, together with Judge McCoy's deposition proving
that he had presented it for registration in Wilkes where it was rejected
sufficient, but the Judge decided against me and the case now goes to the
Supreme Court. 15
Several other points worried Schober; Cameron, who was prevented
from attending the Iredell hearing because of illness, nevertheless con-
tinued to believe that the main points were strongly in the Moravians'
favor. Schober followed the suit to Raleigh and was successful in sustain-
ing the points of contention, allowing the hearing in Iredell to continue. It
would appear that Cameron left the case after this victory probably
because of his health; from this point Schober worked with Archibald D.
Murphey, another prominent Hillsboro attorney who was destined to
become a leader in the growth and development of the state. Murphey
visited Salem in July, 1808, where "all attention was shown to him,
especially by the Brn. Benzien and Schober, who had a number of
conversations with him, informing him as to our constitution and
Schober also likely shared with Murphey his intention to run again for
the General Assembly. Eleven days later "our Br. Gottlieb Schober was
elected senator from Stokes County." 17 A note of pride was inherent in
the diary entry; he had redeemed his personal failures of 1806 and
regained stature in the community by his hard labor on the Mulberry
Fields case. His only quarrel during the year was more humorous than
serious. He traded a mare with filly and $50 to a fellow Moravian for
another horse, only to discover afterward that the animal "is blind in one
^Gottlieb Shober to Duncan Cameron, Salem, 2 May 1808, Moravian Archives.
16 Salem Diary, 31 July 1808, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2921.
17 Salem Diary, 11 August 1808, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2921.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 123
eye and hardly sees in the other." 18 The previous owner knew the
problem but did not tell his buyer; when an undoubtedly angry Schober
confronted the brother, the $50 was already spent. Obviously the Over-
seers supported Gottlieb but probably laughed privately that the shrewd
Schober had finally been temporarily outwitted.
On 2 1 November the senator from Stokes County answered the initial
roll call in Raleigh, and fireworks started immediately. A petition from
Stokes County resident Johnson Clement alledged that Schober's election
was improper. Such challenges were frequent at every Assembly, but it
must have irritated Gottlieb to appear before the committee on elections.
No improprieties were found in Schober's case and his seat was con-
firmed. 19 His appointment to the Finance Committee, probably the most
important regular committee, indicated his enhanced stature among his
fellow senators. He also came prepared with a barrage of bills to present
to the body. The first of these was entitled "A Bill Concerning Divorce
Divorce legislation had been presented in previous years, and there-
fore Schober's presentation was probably not entirely his own composi-
tion. For several years bills had regularly been killed at the second Senate
reading. Schober's activity on the 1805 Committee on Divorce and Alim-
ony, however, had convinced him that legislation was needed. Undoubt-
edly he had worked on the bill to make it more acceptable to the bodies of
the Assembly. The bill provided
That when a marriage hath been heretofore, or shall be hereafter contracted
and celebrated between any two persons, and it shall be adjudged in the
manner hereinafter mentioned, that either party at the time of the contract,
was, and still is, naturally impotent, or that either party lives in adultery, in
every such case it shall and may be lawful for the innocent and injured party
to obtain a divorce, not only from bed and board, but from the bond of
matrimony itself. 20
It further provided relief from bed and board for wives who were
physically abused by a husband or abandoned by him, in which case the
wife was entitled to alimony not to exceed one-third of the husband's
estate. Jurisdiction in divorce cases was to be given to the superior courts
I8 Board of Overseers, 19 February 1808, Moravian Archives.
^Senate Journal, 1808, pp. 4, 14.
20 Senate Journal, 1808, section entitled, "Bills ordered by the General Assembly to be
printed and stitched up with the Acts, for Public Information."
124 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
with jury trial available but not required. The bill therefore proposed to
remove divorce completely from the General Assembly. First readings in
both chambers passed. The Senate approved a second reading 30-22; the
House voted negatively 56-59, then reconsidered and referred it to a joint
committee. The House later approved the second reading, and the Senate
its third 26-25. It was finally defeated in the House 55-57. Recognizing
the close vote, both bodies agreed to print the bill for public information.
Only after six more years of handling petitions would the Assembly enact
a law on divorce; the act passed in 1814 was almost exactly Schober's bill
of 1808, even to the wording. The only significant change was to reserve
to the Assembly the right to confirm the court's decision, without which
the divorce was void. 21 Even this law was not long unchanged, but
Schober had left his mark on the social life of North Carolinians.
The Stokes Senator was also still disturbed by the banking and
currency situation in North Carolina. He presented a bill designed to help
strengthen the "present paper currency of the State." 22 First readings
were passed, but it failed on the second in the Senate by a vote of 18 to 33.
His next bill dealt with internal improvements in the state, providing for
developing and maintaining public roads and highways. It was imme-
diately rejected by the House. 23 At the request of Salem officials, Schober
presented a bill "to lay a tax on such citizens who, on account of religious
scruples, have hitherto been exempted from doing military duty in time
of peace." 24 This was a circuitous method to perpetuate military exemp-
tions for Moravians and Quakers; it was rejected by motion at its second
Schober's voting on other bills reflected his concern for strengthening
the state judicial system, good fiscal management and equitable taxation,
and internal improvements. On taxation, Schober entered a vigorous
protest on the Revenue Bill for 1809 presented by the Finance Commit-
tee. He believed that since owners of town lots were not represented in
the Senate, taxation without their consent violated the North Carolina
Constitution. He further stated that
21 Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina, pp. 218-19.
21 Senate Journal, 1808, p. 21; House Journal, 1808, p. 26.
2i House Journal, 1808, p. 27.
^Senate Journal, 1808, p. 25.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 125
it is in the highest degree unjust, that a poor man possessing a house in a
town, worth one hundred pounds, should pay as much tax as three hundred
acres of land, which, with their improvements, may be, and often is worth
five thousand pounds.
Taxation ought, in every well regulated government, to be in the proportion
to the property protected by the State, otherwise it protects the rich at the
expense of the poor of the community and which in [the first section of the
Revenue Bill] as it stands, is the case. 25
This speech essentially attacked the strong, vested interests of North
Carolina politics of the time. Since only men owning fifty acres of land
were eligible to cast votes in Senate elections, and the poorer man with
only a town lot was excluded, the Senate did in fact tax without represen-
tation. Election laws of the time placed government in the hands of the
wealthy; it was precisely the wealthy to whom Schober spoke — men who
had to own at least three hundred acres of land to qualify as a Senator. In
short, North Carolina government was at this time essentially an oli-
garchy. "The General Assembly, which made the laws and elected the
governor and other state officials as well as United States senators, was
virtually all-powerful in the state government." 26 Moreover, the Assem-
bly itself was politically dominated by delegates from the eastern part of
the state, who tenaciously maintained the status quo at every turn. When
a new western county was created, easterners tried to match it by subdi-
viding an eastern county. The eastern bloc consistently opposed internal
improvements such as roads, since the wealthier East would bear the
major portion of the cost while the West would reap the most benefit. It
was probably this attitude which so quickly and resoundingly killed
Schober's road bill. This perspective also passed the revenue bill which
Schober correctly labelled undemocratic. Still, he would not be silent. He
violently attacked the Assembly's authorization of the state treasurer to
invest money at six percent out of state when it could earn eight percent
in local bank stock which would have
profited this State the annual sum of four thousand dollars and upwards,
relieved our citizens in distress, created a necessary fund for the sinking of
our present paper money, and enabled this State to improve inland Naviga-
tion and roads without taxation. 27
"Senate Journal, 1808, p. 51.
26 Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, p. 323.
21 Senate journal, 1808, p. 57.
126 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Still the authorization was given. With these positions, Schober aligned
his voice and vote against the conservative, wealthy majority in the
Senate. This power bloc was not able to defeat every bill threatening the
status quo, but it carefully protected the interests of the wealthy.
Schober did vote more conservatively than the majority of the Senate
on two occasions. One was a resolution of support of national policies.
America was having difficulty relating to the European powers who were
themselves locked in a power struggle. On the continent, Napoleon was
seeking to enforce French dominance and trying to break English com-
mercial power and cripple English control of the seas. England responded
with a naval blockade of continental ports. America was officially neutral,
but tried to continue her foreign trade with both. The English navy
occasionally stopped American ships to search for contraband and ever
more frequently took sailors to serve on the British war ships. This
impressment of sailors, under a guise that the men were English deser-
ters, infuriated Americans and the government. The American navy,
however, was far too weak to uphold American integrity before the
In June 1807 the American Chesapeake refused to submit to search by
the British Leopard and was fired upon. President Jefferson then used the
only weapon available — an embargo act prohibiting all exports from
America. The measure was devastating to American shipping, but the
president hoped to hurt England and France even more and force them to
respect American neutrality. Most citizens disliked the embargo act, yet
the Chesapeake incident called for drastic action. Even though the mea-
sure hurt North Carolina commerce, the power bloc of wealthy landown-
ers presented a strong resolution in support of the national policies early
in the session. Some members, including Schober, felt that the expression
was too strong and moved to substitute a softer version which condemned
"the repeated violations of the rights of the United States" and pledged
to support [the federal government's] just measures with unanimity and
zeal, and in the cause of their country to submit to all privations, to encounter
all the inconveniences, and make all the exertions which a resistance to
foreign insolence and injustice shall demand of freemen and Americans. 28
This more moderate statement, although itself a firm commitment to the
federal government, was rejected by the Senate 16-37, with Schober
2i Senate Journal, 1808, p. 11.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 127
voting yes. The Senate returned to the stronger resolutions, but the
minority, led by Richard Williams and Schober, moved to strike one of
the seven resolutions and amend another. The part which Schober and
others disliked was the specific statement of approval of the embargo
acts: "The Legislature of North Carolina consider them as the best means
which could have been devised to preserve our citizens and property from
the devouring grasp of the belligerent powers." They wished to substitute
that North Carolinians "will cheerfully aquiesce in their continuance,
until a repeal can be obtained of the unjust regulations which occasioned
them." 29 Other than this point, the tone of the two sets of resolutions was
similar; the latter was more specific in naming the Chesapeake-Leopard
incident and making the willingness even to go to war, implicit in the
softer version, more explicit by stating
we value peace as one of the greatest blessings which any nation can enjoy;
yet, rather than surrender our liberty and independence, we will surround
the standard of our country, and risk our lives and fortunes in her defence. 30
The stronger resolutions carried 37-15, Schober voting no.
Although the ambiguity of party labels makes analysis difficult,
Schober seems to have voted with more conservative Republicans, per-
haps even with the Federalists. But his position was crystal clear, thanks
to the amendments which he seconded. He supported American foreign
policy of the time but did not like the embargo act nor consider it a
satisfactory answer to the problems confronting the state and the nation.
Most historians conclude that the embargo act was a mistake. America
should have either endured the affronts for the sake of profits to be made
or built a navy that would command respect. Instead, the burden fell
unduly on one segment of the economy and population — especially New
Englanders. Smuggling was thereby encouraged, and, after unsuccessful
attempts at enforcement, the law was quietly disregarded. It certainly was
not, as Schober and the minority maintained, the best alternative for
America at this time.
The other conservative vote by Schober involved the issue of slavery.
North Carolina in 1794 had prohibited the importation of slaves into the
state. The 1808 Assembly considered a bill to repeal the act of 1794, and
Schober consistently voted in the affirmative. A federal law, passed in
"Senate Journal, 1805, p. 12.
128 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
1807, prohibited further importation of slaves but allowed a grace period
during which the states had time to conform. The North Carolina bill was
probably designed to take advantage of the grace period, with full knowl-
edge that it would soon be superceded by the federal statute. The bill
reflected an eastern plantation perspective, and, on this issue, Schober
followed. The bill was ultimately killed but not without a struggle. Lest
Schober be judged too harshly, this vote must be paired with another
affirmative vote on a slave issue. He constistently favored a bill to allow
persons who were against slavery on grounds of conscience to free any
slaves they might come to possess. This bill was ultimately withdrawn —
on threat of defeat — by the Quakers who presented it, but Schober's
affirmation was registered on the roll call. 31
Altogether Schober acquitted himself well in his second Senate term.
He was active in committee and very vocal on the floor. His bills showed
foresight, and, given the nature of North Carolina politics, even their
defeat stood to his credit. Subsequent events and legislation confirmed
that in areas in which Schober was interested and informed, his judg-
ments were sound. When he left Raleigh on 20 December 1808, he never
reentered political office at the state level. In all likelihood, he could have
returned to the Senate in 1809 had he chosen to do so. Other men, such as
Archibald D. Murphey, used a successful law practice and a career in the
State Senate as a platform from which to become influential state leaders.
Murphey served in the Senate from 1812 to 1818 where he led an
aggressive program of reform. 32 He fought the general backwardness of
the state, advocating true democratic government as the best agency of
self-development. He worked for internal improvements in transporta-
tion and public schools to educate the young. Had Schober been in the
Senate during these years he would have added his support to Murphey's
ideas. But Schober served his fellowman only when he could interpret
that effort as his service to God. Ultimately he found a purer expression
of that desire, and when Murphey entered the Senate in 1812, Schober
had begun a new career, that, by virtue of Article 3 1 of the North Carolina
Constitution made him ineligible for service in the General Assembly.
From the bustle of the state capital, Gottlieb returned to the quietness
of Salem and his beloved family. All were healthy, and the children were
"Senate Journal, 1808, pp. 27-28.
,2 Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, pp. 328-38.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 129
growing up. Nathaniel served as Salem's postmaster and helped his
father on legal matters. He was a careful secretary and scribe, so that he
was seriously considered when the Overseers searched for a person to
keep their minutes. Emmanuel was also serving the congregation but
began to follow the footsteps of his father in the study of law, much to the
disapproval of Salem officials. But the big news was Johanna. Excitement
must have seized the household when in 1809 she quietly declared her
intention to marry Vaniman Zevely. 33 For Gottlieb and Maria, however,
elation was tempered by apprehension; they knew that marriage in Salem
was not by personal preference. Only the Elders could approve a match,
and even then, the union had to be confirmed by the lot. That two single
people in Salem should know each other well enough to request marriage
was sufficient to cause questions. The timing was especially bad because
in June two young people of the community had become involved sexually
so that a necessary marriage had to be performed by the resident justice of
the peace, Johanna's father. 34 While there was no suggestion of a similar
relationship between Johanna and Vaniman, Gottlieb knew that the
Elders would firmly hold to Moravian practice. That supposition proved
correct. Schober reported to the Elders' Conference that the two young
do not wish to give up each other. Much as he regrets the situation he wishes
that they may be allowed to marry in orderly fashion. They have said that
they did not wish to leave the congregation, and he wishes that they might be
considered as auswartige members. 35
An austw'artige member belonged to the congregation but lived
outside Salem; he had privileges of worship and fellowship but no voice
in the management of community affairs. This status had developed as a
compromise in the 1780s for those who lived on farms near Salem but did
not come under the lease system and moral control of the congregation.
33 Vaniman Zevely, sometimes also referred to as Van Neiman, was born 13
November 1780 at Ninety-Six, South Carolina, of Swiss immigrant parents. After their
deaths, he moved to Salem in 1798 to join the Moravians. He was apprenticed to the
cabinet maker and later pursued this craft in the single brothers' house. After Johanna's
death in 1821, Vaniman remarried and later became a missionary in Virginia. Salem
Diary, 11 May 1836, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 8:4216.
34 Board of Overseers, 13 June 1809, Moravian Archives.
"Elders' Conference, 12 August 1809, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
7:3094-95. Auswartige means "outside-dwelling."
130 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Schober hoped that his daughter could in this manner remain connected
with the congregation.
The Elders reluctantly agreed at first, but when the Overseers raised
questions of the example this might set for others, the Elders agreed.
Schober was informed that the boards could not approve the marriage
nor the status as ausu'artige members; if Johanna and Vaniman were
married "it will be understood that they have left our fellowship." 36 The
couple was nevertheless married, the bride's father officiating, and
moved from the immediate community. Seven months later they were
readmitted to the Salem congregation as ausu'artige members. 37
Other than Johanna's marriage, the year 1809 was quiet for Schober.
Legal work occupied most of his time, especially the Mulberry Fields case.
In April, he and Archibald Murphey traveled to Iredell court, but Schober
again had to report that "the case was not finished at this court, but was
referred to the next Supreme Court in Raleigh." 38 In June another point
was settled in Raleigh, enabling the Iredell hearing to continue. All of
these dilatory tactics by the defense and the delays in the judicial process
began to take their toll on Schober's patience. Was he really accomplish-
ing anything? Was he truly serving God or merely participating in an
all-too-human enterprise? Such questions plagued his mind during the
fall of 1809. All of his activities in the legal sphere were becoming
burdensome. Suddenly, on 9 January 1810, Schober announced his resig-
nation as justice of the peace. 39 No specific reasons were made public, and
probably only Gottlieb's close friends knew the extent of his frustrations
with legal matters. Community officials wondered at the meaning of this
resignation; soon the reasons became disturbingly clear. In April Schober
again went to the Iredell Court, probably hoping at last to conclude the
matter. When another postponement became inevitable, he wrote a
letter to Br. Benzien in Salem. Benzien immediately shared with the
Elders that Schober "feels an inner urge to accompany Pastor [Carl]
Storch on a trip to South Carolina, to preach to the Germans there and
seek out awakened souls." 40 The Brethren registered surprise and
36 Elders' Conference, 31 August 1809, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3095.
r Salem Diary, 13 May 1810, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3110.
38 Salem Diary, 27 April 1809, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3075.
,9 Board of Overseers, 9 January 1810, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:31 17.
40 Elders' Conference, 2 May 1810, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3120.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 131
declared that the preaching trip was "unauthorized." In his letter to
Benzien, Schober indicated that an important factor in his decision was
his continuing distrust of the community officials. He believed that had
he requested permission to work in the Lutheran churches of the area, it
would have been denied. Benzien admitted "the adverse opinions against
you of the brethren here and there," but regretted Schober's precipitous
action — a course which would still have been possible if a request had
been refused. He continued:
even though it is quite unpleasant for me that you entered into your new plan
without any connection with us, still your declaration did show that you did
not pass by the best Counsellor of all and have acted according to a conviction
which I dare not undertake to judge. 41
The man with whom Schober traveled to South Carolina was Carl
Storch, a well-known Lutheran minister of the area who had been in
Salem many times for worship and other business. While relations
between Moravians and Lutherans were most cordial, Schober's decision
was his own and probably would not have been approved beforehand. He
preached his first sermon on 29 April and, upon his return to Salem,
indicated his intention to continue to speak to Lutherans in the area when
requested. When the Elders discussed this development they asked
Schober "not to preach in the neighborhood of our congregations." It was
agreed that he would play the organ at communion, since then "he will
not be so much in the eye of the congregation." 42 In short, Salem officials
were displeased with this new development, and somewhat perplexed as
to how it should be handled. It was not unusual for a Moravian to preach
in a Lutheran church, but never without prior permission. 43 To censure
him would question his inner conviction to preach; but to disregard it
would be a dangerous precedent.
While the Brethren awaited directions on the matter from the Unity
Elders' Conference in Europe, Schober continued to preach. Even the
distress of Maria Schober would not change his mind. She "wishes
nothing more longingly than that you might give up your plan." She did
not want to stand in her husband's way but was concerned
41 Chr. Ludw. Benzien to Gottlieb Schober, Salem, 31 May 1801, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives, Translation: Elizabeth Marx.
42 Elders' Conference, 9 June 1810, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3120.
43 Salem Diary, 17 September 1785, Fries and others, Records of Moravians ,5:2086; 25
September 1808, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3123.
132 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
in regard to material things, in regard to the children, and in regard to the
opinions that are to be feared and such like, and she is frightened to think
that in the future she shall be so little with you and be able to serve you. 44
Schober seemed determined to follow his conscience, but quietly, hoping
not to alienate congregational authorities. His expressed desire to serve
God in the ministry had long remained only a frustrated dream. He tried
to substitute service to the congregation in legal matters but that too
lacked the fulfillment for which Schober yearned. By midsummer he
made a decision: he would resign from his responsibilities related to the
practice of law and devote himself to pastoral work. On 1 August he
relinquished his position in the Mulberry Fields suit, offering future
advice, but leaving that thorny matter for others to complete. 45 Benzien
wished him well. Personally and on behalf of the community leaders, he
expressed appreciation for Gottlieb's efforts in the land suit. Further-
more, Benzien added,
be assured that even if we have no share in your mission, I will accompany
you in your pilgrim way from the bottom of my heart, indeed daily and
constantly with prayer and pleading. I do not doubt in the least that you will
lift up Jesus and his redeeming death . . . from every pulpit and in every
home, where you have opportunity. ... I shall be deeply happy when you can
inform me that you are finding people who are looking for a Savior or who
are our brothers, for you are long acquainted with the fact that in the case of
the latter I do not inquire about [church] constitutions or private opinions. 46
Gottlieb's friends were quietly curious and even more supportive than
officials might have wished. In Bethania, on 19 August,
44 Benzien to Schober, 31 May 1810, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives, Transla-
tion: Elizabeth Marx.
^Heifer Conferenz, 1 August 1810, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3122.
Even if Schober had continued, he would never have witnessed the final solution. In 1814
the Supreme Court of North Carolina ruled in favor of the Moravians. The following year
the executors of the estate of Montgomery offered the tracts at public sale, and James
Wellborn purchased the land. But Lenoir persisted in the fight and secured a rehearing in
Iredell county which was referred to the Supreme Court again in 1824. Four years later the
court for the final time reaffirmed the Moravian claim. The Brethren still had not received
money from the original mortgage which by that time had shifted to other persons. An
additional suit was necessary to collect a part of the money and the rest was written off as a
loss in 1856. See Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1417-19.
46 Benzien to Schober, 31 May 1810, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives. Transla-
tion: Elizabeth Marx.
The Frustrations of Law and Politics • 133
there was no preaching here, as nearly all our members had gone to Shores
Town to hear Br. Gottlieb Schober, from Salem, who was recently given
permission by the Lutheran Ministerium to preach in this neighborhood. 47
Early the following month a group of Lutheran and Reformed Christians
gathered a new church, elected elders for each group, and "as their pastor
Mr. Gottlieb Schober was unanimously called and asked to accept the
position, to which he agreed in the nameofJesus." 48 On21 October 1810,
at the Organ Lutheran Church in Rowan County, Schober was ordained
by Carl Storch, Philip Henkel, and Robert J. Miller. 49 The Lutheran
Synod, meeting at the same time, invited the churches Schober served to
request membership in the synod. In the Salem Elders' Conference the
report of the event was ominous:
On October 21, Br. Gottlieb Schober was ordained a Lutheran minister. We
believe that by this step he has left our church, but for the sake of his family
he will be permitted to continue to live in Salem, so long as no ill results
Gottlieb was undaunted by the possibility of future trouble. As he said
in a later sermon, the ministerial office "is more reverential than any
office men give; as holy as honorable, but also as dangerous as it can
possibly be." 51 It was no easy yoke: to be responsible for the spiritual
welfare and eternal destiny of human beings humbled even Gottlieb
47 Bethania Diary, 19 August 1810, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3127.
48 "Church Book of Shiloh Church," Moravian Archives.
49 Kurzer Bericht von den Conferenzen der Vereinigten Evangelisch Lutheriscben
Predigern und Abgeordnetan in dem Staat Nord-Carolina vom ]ahr 1803, bis zum ]ahr
1810, (Neu-Market, Virginia, Ambrostus Henkel, 1811), p. 18.
''"Elders' Conference, 7 November 1810, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
M F. W. E. Peschau, trans., Minutes of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministe-
rium of North Carolina, 1803-1826 (Newberry, South Carolina: Aull & Houseal, 1804), p.
VIerman immigrants of the Lutheran religious persuasion
arrived in America in force in the early eighteenth century, attracted
primarily to Pennsylvania. As the best farm lands of eastern Pennsylva-
nia filled, settlers filtered southward, first into Maryland and Virginia and
slowly into North Carolina. A separate group of German colonists built
New Bern in 1710, but they were almost completely destroyed by Indian
attacks. By the 1750s Lutherans were becoming more numerous in North
Carolina, although ministers were very scarce.
In Pennsylvania, the lack of ministers was also acute, causing Euro-
pean Lutherans to dispatch a number of missionaries. Among the more
prominent of these was Nicholaus Ludwig, Count von Zinzendorf, who
arrived in 1741. This was the same Count Zinzendorf who had allowed
the Unitas Fratrum to settle on his European estate in 1722. At that time,
neither Zinzendorf nor the Brethren considered the Unitas Fratrum a
separate denomination; rather they were an ecclesiola in ecclesia, a little
society within the church. Therefore Zinzendorf remained a Lutheran
and when Pennsylvanians wrote to the University of Halle appealing for
preachers, Zinzendorf was among those sent. He labored among the
congregations in Pennsylvania for several years, appearing intent on
establishing a cross-confessional unity of all Protestant Christians which
he called a "Congregation of God in the Spirit." He believed that every
136 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
church possessed some "jewel" of truth which would benefit other bodies,
and no group could claim to embody the complete truth in themselves. 1
No person should disturb the "Diversity of religious Denominations,"
but "all these Ideas betray their human origin." 2 Zinzendorf therefore did
not wish the distinctive emphasis of a particular group to disappear, but
that all groups should unite around the central affirmations of Protes-
tantism. He was happy if Lutherans, Moravians, German Reformed, and
any other Christians could join together to form a church. Preaching of
this sort confused the Lutherans in Pennsylvania, and when Henry
Melchoir Muhlenberg arrived as a pastor in 1742, he found the congrega-
tions disspirited and disorganized. He labored mightily to combat Zin-
zendorf's ideas and to define the distinctive Lutheran congregation.
As other ministers of similar persuasion arrived, the tide turned
against the ecumenical efforts of Zinzendorf, and in 1748 a synod of the
Lutheran ministers in Pennsylvania was formed. It rapidly encompassed
the majority of Lutherans in that state, changing its composition in 1761
to include lay delegates at the meetings. By 1779 Lutherans in America
had broken their bonds to Europe and emerged as an independent
spiritual entity. Primarily through the work of Muhlenberg, the Pennsyl-
vania synod continued to grow stronger and became the model for similar
organizations in other states after the Revolution.
The Lutheran synod in North Carolina was formed in 1803, the third
such body in America. Its purpose was to recruit, train, and ordain
ministers for the region and to further the work of the churches in the
area in whatever way possible. When the synod was established there
were already a number of strong Lutheran churches in the Carolinas. In
the eighteenth century, German colonists had settled in Charleston,
Purysburg, Orangeburg, Barnwell, Edgefield, Abbeville, and other places
in South Carolina. 3 In North Carolina, most Germans came originally
from Pennsylvania. A large group of Lutherans and German Reformed
settled in Rowan and Cabarrus counties, south and west of the Moravians
'N. L. Count von Zinzendorf, Maxims, Theological Ideas and Sentences, extracted by J.
Gambold (London: J. Beecroft, 1751), pp. 332-33. See also A. J. Lewis, Zinzendorf:
Ecumenical Pioneer (London: Westminister Press, 1962), pp. 141-50.
2 N. L. Count von Zinzendorf, Nine Publick Discourses Upon Important Subjects in
Religion (London: 1748), p. 125.
? See G. D. Bernheim, History of the German Settlements and of the Lutheran Church
in North and South Carolina (Philadelphia: The Lutheran Book Store, 1872), pp. 175ff.
A Call to Preach and Publish • 137
in Wachovia. Small struggling congregations received a great impetus by
the arrival in 1773 of Adolph Nussman and J. G. Arndt. Both labored in
the Rowan County churches until after the Revolution, bringing stability
and vigor to the small Lutheran beginnings in the state. Soon other
pastors arrived: Christian E. Bernhardt in 1786 and Carl Charles A. G.
Storch and Arnold Roschen in 1788. Storch assumed direction of Organ
Church near Salisbury, a congregation of eighty-seven families. 4 Robert J.
Miller, an Englishman, was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1791 for
work in Lincoln county to the west. Philip Henkel took over a Lutheran
pastorate in Guilford County in 1801. Still the number of ministers was
woefully inadequate, and those who labored in the field became convinced
that North Carolina Lutherans must provide for their own needs. In May
1803, ministers and lay delegates met near Salisbury to form the North
Carolina Synod. The early minutes expressed to the churches their hopes:
Ye yourselves will know, that it is necessary, if the Christian Church is to be
perpetuated, that order must be preserved both among the ministers and in
the congregations. Dear brethren, we look to you to assist us in this noble
undertaking. God's work calls for help; the condition of our church and
people calls for help; the condition of thousands, both of old and young, calls
for help; and shall this call of God and the cry of so many immortal souls not
be heard at all, or heard in vain? 5
Besides setting up the usual mechanics of organization, such as time
of meeting, officers, and the role of elected deputies of the congregation,
the first synod attacked directly the major problem in North Carolina. For
congregations that had no regular pastor, the synod made provisions for
periodical visitation for preaching and Holy Communion. For areas
where German settlers were scattered and no churches existed, the synod
commissioned missionary trips to preach and explore possibilities for
new churches. To increase the number of ministers, the synod began to
license promising young men as catechists while they received private
instruction from some of the older ministers. In this manner a student
became a candidate for the ministry and was "ordained as soon as he had
received a call as pastor of a church, without having to pass through a
■'Bernheim, History of the German Settlements, p. 330.
'Quoted in Bernheim, History of the German Settlements, p. 357. The last part of this
paragraph beginning with "Dear Brethren" was written by Schober in 1810 as part of a
circular letter endorsed by the same men who wrote the first part in 1803. It is included
here because, as Bernheim also felt, it summarized the reasons for the organization of a
synod most eloquently.
138 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
state of licensed probation." 6 Candidates for the ministry had to under-
stand Latin and be able to read the Greek New Testament. As the synod
waxed in vitality, contacts between Lutheran ministers and the Moravi-
ans in Salem became more frequent.
Carl Storch worshiped with his German compatriots in Wachovia as
early as 1795. 7 When the new church in Salem was dedicated in 1800,
Storch and Paul Henkel, another Lutheran pastor, were invited. Two
years later Storch was characterized as "a true friend of the Unity" when
his visit to worship was recorded in the congregation diary. 8 And the
friendship was reciprocal. Moravian ministers had for a long time
preached in Lutheran and German Reformed churches, usually when the
church had no pastor. Beginning in 1776, Brethren traveled to Haw River
to preach, baptize children, and visit in Lutheran homes. 9 Since these
congregations were also founded on the Augsburg Confession, Moravians
could gladly join them in worship, exhorting them to make their knowl-
edge and conviction a matter of the heart as well as the head. 10 There was
only one point of friction. The Lutherans about 1802 were involved in the
religious revivals known in American religious history as the "Second
Great Awakening." The camp meeting, especially popular among Metho-
dists and Baptists, caught the Lutheran imagination, much to the concern
of Moravians who feared emotional excesses. They liked the preaching
some things happened which were very offensive and running contrary to
the teachings of the Gospel, for example, people fell down and lay for a long
time in a kind of swoon, experiencing the pangs of the new birth, they said,
not only for themselves but also for others. 11
This report was brought to Salem by Gottlieb Schober who attended a
revival meeting at the request of Salem authorities. They learned that a
similar gathering was to be held near Salem and asked Schober to
investigate. Ultimately the Brethren convinced the Lutheran Paul Hen-
6 Bernheim, History of the German Settlements, p. 372.
7 Salem Diary, 23 August 1795, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2535.
8 Salem Diary, 27 May 1802, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2698.
9 Salem Diary, 5 June 1777, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1152.
10 Friedberg Diary, 27 May 1776, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 3:1115.
"Salem Diary, 4 October 1802, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 6:2702.
A Call to Preach and Publish • 139
kel to move the meeting from Salem to Guilford County, about thirty
Despite the cordial relations between Moravians and Lutherans,
Schober's decision to associate with them came as an unpleasant surprise.
Moravians had long ago abandoned their early status as a society within
the Lutheran Chruch and conceived themselves as a separate denomina-
tion. They preached among Lutherans, as they also did among Baptists
and Methodists, only until a minister of that group arrived on the scene.
They did not encourage conversion to the Moravian Church because they
believed that most people would not prefer the highly disciplined life of
the Unitas Fratrum. When Schober accepted ordination, Moravians
believed that he had given up membership in the Salem congregation.
The Unity Elders agreed that
so long as [Schober] merely worked among awakened souls in this neighbor-
hood he should be counted as belonging to us, but if he became an ordained
minister it would be understood that he had left our denomination. 12
The decision was not surprising. Moravians in Pennsylvania experienced
a similar incident when Ernst L. Hazelius united with the Lutherans in
Philadelphia. 13 Hazelius was the first professor in the newly organized
Moravian Theological Seminary in Nazareth. In 1809 he and several
other Brethren became disenchanted with conservative Moravian leaders
who insisted on maintaining the use of the lot in marriage. This opposi-
tion was aired publicly and to the Unity Elders. When the Unity sup-
ported the status quo, Hazelius departed. He expressed his dissatisfaction
in a letter to each of the Pennsylvania and North Carolina congregations,
so Salem officials knew of the episode. 14
Their reaction to Schober, therefore, was to be expected. Although
Schober likely anticipated the consequences of his ordination, the reality
must have hurt. His participation in the local mission society was reduced
to an honorary status without vote, and even that only at his personal
request. 15 His wish "to play the organ now and then for Communion" was
12 Elders' Conference, 30 January 1811, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3144.
13 Amos A. Ettinger, ed., Two Centuries of Nazareth, 1740-1940 (Nazareth, Pennsyl-
vania, Nazareth Bi-centennial Inc., 1940), p. 74.
u Joseph M. Levering, The History of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741-1892 (Bethle-
hem, Pennsylvania: Times Publishing Co., 1903), pp. 589-90.
^Heifer Conferenz, 14 August 181 1, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3151.
140 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
at first denied, but two months later the Elders noted that "Pastor
Schober often attends our public services, and usually goes to the organ
gallery. The Organist is at liberty to invite him to play." 16 Public services
were, of course, open to all; several years passed before Gottlieb again
partook of Holy Communion with the Salem congregation. That Schober
was allowed to maintain his household in Salem was an exception.
Moravians still held the man and his family in high regard; perhaps also
they recognized the courage of his convictions. Most persons at fifty-four
years of age would not casually sever the relations of a lifetime and enter a
new career. At a time when most people were mellowing with the
passing of years, Schober was launching into the most influential period
of his life. Moravians respected this dedication:
We remember with gratitude his many years of service of this congregation
in music and in other lines. We wish for him the blessing of the Lord, and
commend him to the Lord and the Holy Spirit in his present work. 17
When Schober was ordained in 1810, he was already the pastor of two
German congregations in Stokes County near Wachovia. Beginning in
1810, he accepted small congregations at Shiloh, also called Muddy Creek,
and Nazareth, near Germanton. Before long he added two others, Hope-
well and Bethlehem. Schober reported to the synod of 1811 that, in the
two years of his ministry, he had given religious instruction to 113
persons, confirmed seventy-five and baptized six adults. 18 At his first
l6 Elders' Conference, 11 December 1811, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
7:3153; Elders' Conference, 22 January 1812, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
'"Memorabilia of the Congregations of the Brethren in Wachovia for the Year 1810,
Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3106.
^Proceedings of the Lutheran Synod of North Carolina for the Year 181 1, p. 6. The
proceedings of the Synod of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina exist in several forms.
In 1811, the synod collected its minutes from previous years and published them in the
Kurzer Bericht von den Conferenzen der Vereinigton Evangelisch Lutherischen Predig-
ern und Abgeordneten in dem Staat Nord-Caro/ina vom Jahr 1803, bis zum Jahr 1810
(Neu-Market, Virginia: Ambrostius Henkel, 1811). Beginning in 1811 the proceedings
were printed annually in both German and English, but English copies survived only for
the years 1811, 1812, and 1819 and from 1827 forward. F. W. E. Peschau translated the
most important parts in his Minutes of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministerium
of North Carolina 1803-1826 (Newberry, South Carolina: Aull and Houseal, 1894).
References in this study taken from Peschau's translation will be identified. Other
citations were taken directly from the original printing of the proceedings and translated
by this author. The wording of the title of the minutes varied from year to year but was
usually Succinct Information of the Transactions of the German and English Lutheran
A Call to Preach and Publish • 141
synod as a Lutheran minister, Schober was elected secretary. The new
member, along with Synod President Storch, soon sounded a note which
was to characterize Schober's Lutheran career:
Revs. Storch and Shober introduced and advocated the opening of a corres-
pondence with the Pennsylvania Synod, in accordance with the warmly
expressed wishes for a closer union with these brethren of our common
The synod also decided to encourage the foundation of Sunday schools
among the congregations, to adopt Luther's Smaller Catechism as the
standard of instruction, and to commission the preparation of a liturgy by
President Storch. Nine congregations from Tennessee were added to the
four from South Carolina which were admitted in 1810 so that the synod
was truly "of North Carolina and adjacent states," encompassing a total of
In the 1812 synod Schober reported forty-eight confirmations and
sixty-four baptisms, four of which were adults in his four churches. He
preached twice before his fellow ministers and the lay delegates, the first
based on Psalm 126: "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." A second
address in preparation for Holy Communion was paraphrased in the
minutes and revealed a strong Lutheran stance on this sacrament. He
sought to convey an immediacy of Christ's presence in the service: "Our
dear Saviour on this day [burns] with desire to keep the holy communion
with his disciples, as much as he did on the night in which he was
betrayed." 20 He lamented that only "thirty-three out of such a large
congregation" came forward to partake of the sacrament causing concern
regarding the faithfulness of others. Are these unhappy with Jesus' yoke?
Have they been conquered by the lusts of sin? Are they ashamed of their
Lord? Are they unreconciled with their neighbors?
In short, it is incontrovertible evidence that the nature of Esau, viz. carnal,
worldly and voluptuous enjoyments, and even angry passions, are preferred
Synod for North Carolina and Adjacent States, hereinafter shortened to "Lutheran Synod
Minutes." All of the minutes are available in the archives of the North Carolina Lutheran
Synod, Salisbury, North Carolina, hereinafter cited as "Lutheran Archives."
19 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1811, p. 5.
20 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1812, Peschau translation, p. 5. Summaries of Schober's
sermons were reported in the past tense. Where the meaning is clear, verb tenses in
quotations are changed from past to present to portray Schober's thoughts more faith-
fully. Such changes are enclosed in brackets.
142 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
to the heavenly, happy and inexpressible perception of the peace of God in
True believers, he said, can this day partake of the "Body and Blood of the
Saviour, to approach with confidence to the Throne of Grace . . ." even if
weak in sin, provided they love only God. Then in graphic language
Schober recreated for his hearers the suffering of Jesus.
Come, then, proclaim his death; let his Holy Spirit place him before your
eyes in all his sufferings; go with him to Gethsemane — see [the] sweat,
bloody sweat, trembling for the anguish of his soul — hear the bitter cries in
his agony, all this to save you from the power of Satan — See him . . . mocked,
derided, striken and spit in the face. . . . Contemplate him in the crown of
thorns. . . . Listen how the crowd of his enemies demand the murderer to be
set at liberty, and him, the best of men, to be crucified. Desire ... to assist him
to carry the cross up to Golgotha. . . . Rejoice that the word, sounding
through all eternity for all repenting sinners, is yet efficacious for you.
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
All of this, Schober concluded, was for man's salvation. Such reflections,
particularly during the Holy Sacrament, bring life eternal. Through Jesus'
resurrection and his Spirit dwelling in us, and "because we [are] made
true partakers of his body and blood," he will raise us up on the last day.
Therefore, "renew your covenant this day with your gracious Lord, that
you will by his grace remain faithful to him. . . ." 21
Those who read Schober's sermon could readily recognize a strong
sacramental presence joined with Schober's Moravian heritage of vivid
pictorialization of Christ's suffering and presented with a revivalistic
tenor characteristic of preaching on the American frontier. The publica-
tion of the sermon attested to its acceptance by the ministers in atten-
dance, and Schober's position as synod secretary, with responsibility for
publication of the proceedings, guaranteed that the printed word faith-
fully reflected the meaning of the speaker. Therefore, this and other
sermons revealed the theological principles uppermost in Schober's
preaching in this period. One other source gave Gottlieb's contemporar-
ies an insight into his thinking. In 1811 he made arrangements for
reprinting a small pamphlet which "I found in an old bookcase: It
contains an inestimable treasure, which you will find, if you employ it
well." Its title was A Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ or A
Short Word of Advice to all Saints and Sinners. 22
21 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1812, Peschau translation, p. 7.
22 (New-Market, Shenandoah County, Virginia: Ambrose Henkel and Co., 1811).
A Call to Preach and Publish • 143
Gottlieb made it very clear that he was not the author of the pam-
phlet; since the title page did not name an author it is likely that he did not
know who wrote it. In all of his other publications authors or sources were
clearly credited. The book was the work of Thomas Wilcocks (or Wilcox),
a rather obscure Calvinist Baptist of England. Wilcocks (1622-?) pub-
lished the book during the height of Puritan activity in England and it
immediately gained popularity among Puritans. By 1807 the book was in
its fiftieth English edition. In 1667 the first American edition was printed
by Samuel Green in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Later American editions
were printed in Boston, New York, Newport, Wilmington, and Philadel-
phia. 23 Schober used a London edition printed in 1788 which probably
had no indication of the author. Wilcocks' adherence to the particular or
Calvinist Baptists of the period would have damaged circulation even
among Puritans, probably accounting for the lack of recognition of
authorship in later editions. 24
Schober's attraction to this Puritan pamphlet was natural. It explored
themes very dear to Gottlieb's thinking even though its Calvinistic
foundation differed from Schober's grounding in the Augsburg
A Choice Drop of Honey was addressed to professing Christians,
especially those for whom faith was more social than religious and who
perfunctorily relied on nominal church membership as a guarantee of
salvation. Ideas were repeated frequently, almost hammered into the
reader, yet a simplicity of thought, motive, and action gave the book a
quiet strength. It was a meditative composition, short enough to encour-
age frequent readings. Its message, Schober believed, was badly needed in
First and foremost, this small book was Christocentric. The sole
source of man's redemption was Jesus Christ. Man cannot contribute
"Joseph Sabin, Bibliotheca Americana (New York: J. Sabin and other publishers, 29
vol., 1868-1936), p. 28, p. 354.
24 The British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books, [Photolithograph edition
to 1955] (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1965), p. 560, refers to Wilcocks as a
particular Baptist. Some Baptists of the period followed the theology of John Calvin on the
question of predestination and were called Particular Baptists. Others adhered to Jacob
Arminius' doctrine of free will and were called General Baptists. Both groups were
transplanted to America, but the latter died out. Particular Baptists, although softening
their stance on predestination somewhat, became the ancestors of the modern denomina-
tion by that name.
144 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
anything except his own sin; "bring nothing but thy wants and miseries,
else Christ is not fit for thee, nor thou for Christ." 25 By coming to Him
"thou standest upon the Rock of Ages," for He has drunk the bitter from
the cup and left for mankind the sweet salvation of the Father. "To accept
Christ's righteousness alone, his blood alone for salvation, that is the sum
of the gospel."
Prepare for the cross, welcome it, bear it triumphantly like Christ's cross,
whether scoffs, mockings, jeers, contempt, imprisonments, & c. but see it be
Christ's cross, not thine own. 26
Second, the pamphlet assumed the absolute depravity of man.
Nothing that he was, could do, or ever would be counted toward his
salvation. Even his ability to have faith was a gift of God. Man's salvation
was God's choosing: "there must be a divine nature first put into the soul,
to make it lay hold on [Christ]." "If thou findest thou canst not believe;
remember it's Christ's work to make thee believe. . . ." 27 Man's greatest
enemy is his own nature which rebels at being so dependent on God.
Nature would have made salvation something that the human being
could have earned or purchased, but "not a penny of nature's highest
improvements will pass in Heaven."
Let nature but make a gospel, and it would make it quite contrary to Christ. It
would be to the just, the innocent, the holy, & c. Christ made the gospel for
thee, that is for needy sinners, the ungodly, the righteous, the accursed.
Nature cannot endure to think gospel is only for sinners; it would rather
chuse to despair than to go to Christ upon such terrible terms. 28
Third, the professing Christian must beware lest his performance of
churchly duties and responsibilities lull him into comfort. A church
member may pass the church tests of man while failing Christ's test.
"Thou may'st come to baptism and never come to Jesus, and the blood of
sprinkling." "Judas may have the sop, the outward privilege of baptism,
supper, church fellowship, & c. but John leaned on Christ's bosom." Many
people may call Christ their Saviour; few really know him to be so.
25 Wilcocks, A Choice Drop of Honey, Schober reprint, p. 8.
26 Wilcocks, A Choice Drop of Honey, Schober reprint, p. 24.
2 ~\\"ilcocks, A Choice Drop of Honey, Schober reprint, p. 12.
28 Wilcocks, A Choice Drop of Honey, Schober reprint, p. 19.
A Call to Preach and Publish • 145
The honey that you suck from your own righteousness will turn into perfect
gall, and the light that you take from that to walk in will turn into black night
upon the soul. 29
The work was concluded with detailed admonitions for the true
Christian. He should
search the Scriptures daily. . . . Judge not Christ's love by providences, but by
promises. ... Be serious exact in duty . . . but be much afraid of taking comfort
from duties as from sins. ... Be much in prayer. ... Be true to truth . . . restore
such as are fallen . . . with the grace of the gospel. ... Be faithful to others
infirmities, but sensible of thy own. Visit sick beds and deserted souls much. .
. . Abide in your calling. ... Be content with little of the world Think much
of Heaven. . . . Think everyone better than thyself. . . . Mourn to see so little of
Christ in the world, so few needing him. . . . Remember Christ's time of love
when thou wast naked. 30
The little book of thirty pages was laced throughout with Biblical
references. Major ideas were backed with specific citations, communicat-
ing the author's intention to provide a true scriptural interpretation. He
cited the Old Testament books twenty-three times, mostly the prophets.
The New Testament books appeared sixty-eight times, almost half of
which were the writings of Paul.
Schober may not have advocated every principle of this pamphlet
with as much force as the author, but he certainly liked most of it.
Nothing, he believed, should ever compromise the centrality of Christ. It
was probably that motif which initially attracted his attention, because he
felt it was sadly neglected in the backcountry areas in which he preached.
And without that understanding, all was lost. This pamphlet, therefore,
when taken with other writings, can reveal the ideas which gripped
Schober's mind and inspired his messages as a Lutheran minister.
Two ideas implicit in the pamphlet, however, were foreign to Scho-
ber's thinking: the nature of the church and predestination. As a particu-
lar Baptist, Wilcocks affirmed a true church composed only of
regenerated believers who have made a conscious confession of Christ. It
would not include infants or allow for infant baptism. Indeed, Wilcocks
saw infant baptism as a source of undedicated Christians — those for
whom baptism and confirmation had been only ritual with little real
meaning. Schober, on the other hand, strongly advocated the baptism of
29 Wilcocks, A Choice Drop of Honey, Schober reprint, p. 29.
,0 Wilcocks, A Choice Drop of Honey, Schober reprint, pp. 21-25.
146 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
infants, although he too deplored empty ceremony. In 1813 he preached a
sermon entitled only "Child's Funeral — Smith, 1813;" fourteen years
later he used the same text for a similar occasion in Germanton. 31 Both
sermons dealt with children in the career of Jesus and in general defended
the right of children to membership in the church. His notes began:
Whoever denys that Children are fit to be partakers of experimental knowl-
edge of their Creator & Saviour is either ignorant himself — wilfully blind to
the power of Omnipotence or an Enemy to Jesus — as they in their self
conceited Wisdom refuse his request — suffer little children to come unto me,
for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
These reflections perhaps inspired his more comprehensive writing
on the subject entitled "The Validity of Infant Baptism." The composi-
tion was left only in manuscript form 32 although its length of forty-eight
closely written pages and its manner of organization would suggest that
Schober intended publication. The manuscript is undated and inclusion at
this point is purely circumstantial. In the early years of his ministry
Schober confronted the most aggressive religious group on the frontier:
the Baptists. Most Baptist ministers in the backcountry had little or no
education to enable them to understand the Scriptures in the original
languages. Therefore they tended, Schober believed, to construct a rather
weak religious foundation for their members, more emotional than
substantial. This composition was written against the Baptist position of
believer's baptism of adults by immersion, but it was more explanatory in
character than argumentative. Schober wanted to enlighten his readers,
not just condemn another interpretation. Some of the material seemed to
be Schober's own composition. He did acknowledge his indebtedness to
several authors, particularly William Wall's History of Infant-Baptism
written in 1705. Wall's work
was regarded as one of the greatest on the subject, even by Baptists, who
accepted the accuracy of much of his research while rejecting the conclusions
he drew from it. Well into the nineteenth century it was regarded by many
Paedo-Baptists as the most erudite apologia for their point of view. 33
31 The 1813 sermon is among the Schober Papers, Moravian Archives. The second,
entitled "Funeral, Germantown, 4 August 1827 is in the Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
32 Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives. Hereinafter cited as "Infant Baptism
33 D. M. Hembury, "Baptismal Controversies, 1640-1900," Christian Baptism, A.
Gilmore, ed. (Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1959), p. 295.
A Call to Preach and Publish • 147
Schober's arguments were very similar to other advocates of the baptism
of children, but he did show clarity of expression and ability to present a
convincing case. But most important, the composition provided an
important corrective to the assumptions of A Drop of Honey.
At the outset, Schober admitted that the proofs for or against the
baptism of children were disputable and inconclusive. One who would
learn the truth must first have an open mind on the question and consult
the scriptures, the practice of the apostles, the writings of those close to
the New Testament period, and the practice of the church in history.
Many, however, "are fond of party, unwilling to put themselves to the
trouble of inquiring — listing themselves under a particular sect shelter
under disguise of Religion, zealous in defending their private opinion —
and degrading all others." 34 Baptists, he said, are most industrious in
denying infant baptism as an "unscriptural absurd practice;" but as far as
can be gathered from
reason, Scripture and writing of ancient fathers, the Church has every where
& at all Times till lately admitted infants, & that no church ever refused such
when grown up into its communion nor presumptuously rebaptised them
[until] abt. 250 years ago.
Schober proceeded to develop his arguments under six major points,
providing extensive documentation for each important idea.
First, Schober tried to show a continuity of the spiritual nature of the
church beginning with the covenant of Abraham and Moses and continu-
ing through the New Testament. The church was not based on natural
generation under the Jews and changed to spiritual generation under the
Christians. In the former, non-Jews could become a part of the Jewish
faith through spiritual regeneration and became heirs to the promises of
therefore the spiritual constitution of the church under the Gospel is no
more argument against infant church membership than the like constitution
of the Church under the Mo. dispensation was an argument ag. church
membership at that Time. 35
Second, Schober argued that church members are to be admitted on
the same terms under the gospel as they had been under the Law. Baptism
and circumcision were both rites of admission to the respective cove-
}4 Schober, Infant Baptism Manuscript, p. 2.
35 Infant Baptism Manuscript, p. 6.
148 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
nants, each carrying the rights and responsibilities of membership. Chris-
tians should not change the character of the rite unless Christ himself
directed a change. The first preaching of the Apostles included children
with their parents as the heirs of Christ's promises. Since Christ
never made an alteration as to persons to be admitted into the church, so as
to exclude infants, it must remain (being no where forbidden) that children
of Christian parents have the same right to church membership now as
Jewish children formerly. 36
While the Christian dispensation substituted baptism for circumcision,
there was no apparent change in the persons to be admitted. Baptism
came "not as an anti-type in the place of a type, but as one positive
institution in place of another." Both rites required the explanation of
adults when the child could understand the meaning of the event.
Third, Schober contended, Jews not only baptized adults proselytes
but also their children. Both circumcision and baptism were necessary to
complete the conversion. He quoted extensively from Maimonides, a
Jewish historian, and the Talmud to substantiate this claim. Infant bap-
tism was well known in Jesus' time, but neither the prophets nor Jesus
ever condemned the practice of the ancient Jews in this regard. In the
absence of any condemnation and without directions to change, it was
entirely proper for the young church to continue the institution and,
according to Christ's instructions, to baptize all nations.
Is it not probable that he who came not to destroy the Law and the prophets
but to fulfill them, departed as little as possible from this their Ancient
custom of adm[ itting] Chfurch] members. Circumcision, which was a stum-
bling block to gentiles, it was necessary to lay aside and as the Chr. Rel. was to
be universal, to be presented] all Nations; all characters that kept up enmity
between Jews and Gentiles, must of necessity be abolished in order to further
the Gospel . . . and the easy rite of bapjtism] succeeded to cirfcumcision]. 37
Fourth, infant baptism was practiced by the apostles as far as can be
determined by reason. The apostles baptised entire households which, in
some cases if not all, would have included children. Jesus specifically
prohibited the apostles from keeping little children from coming to him
"for of such are the kingdom of heaven." From Jesus they received a
blessing, and if he could accept them in heaven, surely we should accept
them in the church.
,6 Infant Baptism Manuscript, p. 9.
37 Infant Baptism Manuscript, p. 19.
A Call to Preach and Publish • 149
Fifth, the current arguments against infant baptism drawn from
particular texts are superficial. Opponents argue that children can not
fulfill the requirements of a Christian and therefore only adults should be
baptised. For example, opponents contend children cannot "teach" as
required by Matthew 28:19. Schober explored the Greek meaning of the
passage to show that children can become disciples and are so called in
various places; this, he said, was the true meaning of the passage.
Opponents also argue that belief before baptism could only occur in
adults. Schober was content to assert that the faith of parents, godfathers,
or the congregation enabled children to be called believers. After all, he
countered, it is ultimately the faith of the heart and not the baptism of the
flesh which leads to salvation, therefore,
both Jews and Christians should not be taught that their children were
unprofitably cir[cumscized] or bapftized] but that there was no resting in
external performance, & that the respective cov'ts. were of no effect without
conformable action. 38
Finally, Schober asserted that infant baptism was the practice of all
national churches from apostolic times to the present. The church
fathers, writing just after the New Testament, supported the baptism of
children. Hermas, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Ori-
gen, and Cyprian gave clear indications of early Christian practice. Early
councils ratified its continuance so that
from that Time to the reformation by Calvin we have no certain acct. of any
church or people that denied inft. bap ... & it is well known that all national
churches in Europe and Asia practiced it. . . . It is hard to suppose that God
would suffer it to have succeeded for sixteen hundred years if it was so
dangerous to his kingdom as is proclaimed by some. 39
Schober concluded his composition by considering briefly the manner
of baptism. Since it is the washing by Christ's blood that is ultimately
important, the manner of water baptism was insignificant. Immersion,
sprinkling, or pouring were all acceptable. Certainly, the quantity of
water had little to do with the event. He freely admitted the New
Testament meaning of the word "to baptize," but he also pointed out
places where the same word was used in connection with the washing of
38 Infant Baptism Manuscript, p. 34.
39 Infant Baptism Manuscript, p. 41.
150 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
hands. He concluded that the adoption of one mode, to the exclusion of all
others, was not justified by the scriptural usage.
A second theological idea in which Schober disagreed with the
assumptions of Wilcocks was on the question of predestination and free
will. In a synod sermon preached in 1813, Schober earnestly recom-
mended continual prayer to his listeners. God does listen to man's prayer,
and his plan of the ages is not unchangeable. The prayers of the righteous
man, if motivated by the Holy Spirit, do change things through God's
power. "In prayer, all are united with God, they love him, and if they
remain in Jesus and his words in them, they can do the will of the Father.
. . ." 40 Schober quoted the Apostle Paul extensively, how "the Lord an-
swered him on his prayer" to be released from Satan's temptation, and
how he counseled all Christians to be much in prayer in order to avoid the
error of false teaching.
If then, so much depended on prayer in his time — if this highly enlightened
apostle was so desirous to be assisted by prayer — how much more must his
example in our days be applicable, when so many lose the good narrow way.
Even ministers need to pray because of the weight of responsibility on
their hands. They must lead eternal souls to God and if they fail or are lax,
God will require an answer for their efforts or lack therof; "how easy,
then can they err, when instead of supporting the weak in faith, they
afflict them; instead of comforting . . . they oppress them . . . and on the
other hand, cry peace where there is none." In this great responsibility,
the minister's need is prayer "that the Spirit of the Lord will guide us and
lead us into all truth." Schober especially admonished the younger
preachers to seek God's help.
But many of them who are propelled by the first fire of love to serve the
Lord, begin to study in order to enable themselves to address their hearers
worthily in the great cause: after some time the love waxes cold, family cares
too soon encumber them, and instead of becoming vivifying speakers,
endowed by unction from above, as was expected, a machine is brought forth
which is contented with the forms, without innate life.
Others, he continued, choose the ministry as a life of ease or soon became
tired. Some study eloquent delivery to secure the praise of men. But
remember, he said, "God . . . [uses] men and their words ... to effect His
purposes with the human race . . ." whatever their age or station.
40 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1813, Peschau translation, p. 21.
A Call to Preach and Publish • 151
Encourage the young who feel God's call to service and let all who hear
that call continually seek the will of God in prayer. If God would grant his
grace "we should very soon behold living fruit and the revival of true
religion in all our congregations." 41
This sermon of Schober revealed a balanced view of God's providence.
The hard predestination of Calvinism was softened in a manner consis-
tent with the Augsburg Confession but clearly avoided the other extreme
of total human free-will. God is accomplishing his purpose through men,
and they must constantly seek the guidance of his will.
Another emphasis of Schober emerged from this sermon: the need
for an educated ministry. The previous year the synod discussed this
problem, and Schober's sermon in 1813 helped crystallize planning for an
"institution for the education of young men for the ministry." 42 With
limited funds, however, the problem was not easily solved. Several years
passed before the synod founded an educational institution. Until that
time, young men continued to study with established ministers and some
moved to ordination with less than perfect preparation.
Equally important for the development of vital Christianity was the
provision for religious instruction of the people, particularly children.
Lutherans in 1810 circulated a letter to the congregations recognizing the
dearth of opportunities for children to learn religious ideas. Schober
drafted this letter, although it was issued by the whole synod. 43 The letter
to furnish your Families with Catechisms; and have your Children instructed
in them. ... If our Children are neglected to be instructed in the fundamen-
tals of our holy faith; if we do not inform them intelligibly according to their
capacity of their lost situation without a Saviour; what will become of the
next generation? it will be a generation of Infidels; a generation which as
they know nothing of the Patience of the Redeemer can not be kept or
preserved from the hour of Temptation which shall come and is now come
upon all the Earth to try them that dwell thereon. . . . We would also
recommend (especially in places where there is no regular ministry) the
appointment of Sunday meetings for the people to sing and pray together; to
read the holy Scriptures and other approved Books on religious Subjects; . . .
at such places Children might also be catachised.
41 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1813, Peschau translation, p. 28.
42 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1813, Peschau translation, p. 19.
43 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1810, in Kurzer Bericbt von den Conferenzen . . ., pp.
30-34. English draft in Schober's handwriting and with marginal corrections and rewrite,
Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
152 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
These few measures could revive the churches, provide young men for the
ministry, and "gather thousands of those who are now wandering on the
dark Mountains of Error" Schober believed. 44
But three years later the situation was little improved. Schober served
five churches, and despite a great effort he, like his fellow ministers, could
not meet the need. Since he could only preach in each congregation once
every four weeks, he turned to his Moravian friends for help. At Schober's
request and with permission of the Elders, Br. Gotthold Reichel preached
several times at the Lutheran churches a few miles north of Salem. 45
Moreover, just prior to leaving for the Lutheran Synod of 1813, Schober
talked with the Heifer Conferenz in Salem concerning the problem,
arousing "in us a desire to renew the visits to nearer and farther neighbor-
hoods which were formerly attended with so much blessing." 46 This
cooperative response of the Moravians was probably reported to the
Lutheran synod. The synod then passed a resolution that Storch and
Schober should request the Moravians to provide "several capable Chris-
tian men to teach our children, according to our custom, Luther's Cate-
chism." 47 In a letter to Jacob van Vleck, Storch and Schober requested
preachers for adult Lutherans "who . . . have fallen into the hands of
ignorant leaders of various denominations, and have either built upon the
sand, or have built with hay and stubble upon good ground." 48 They
expressed great distress to "see how the youth of the land are neglected,"
but rejoiced that about 250 Lutheran young people had asked for religious
With few ministers Lutherans realized the need could not be met un-
less the Moravian Church, which "we know . . . from its beginning has
purposed to win souls for Jesus without regard to denominations [and has
honored] the Little Catechism of Luther ... as containing the principles of
the Christian faith," will agree to "commission one or more of your ef-
ficient deacons to give instruction to such as may apply for it, using the
45 Salem Diary, 7 February 1813, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3194.
^Heifer Conferenz 18 October 1813, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3207.
47 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1813, Peschau translation, p. 20.
48 Carl Storch and G. Shober to the Rev'd Jacob V. Vleck, no date but received in Salem,
13 December 1813. Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3542.
A Call to Preach and Publish • 153
Lutheran Catechism according to our custom." 49 The Moravians con-
sidered the matter, but felt compelled to decline, at least for the present,
because "in our own country congregations, there is great lack of oppor-
tunity to give the young people the needed instruction in Christian doc-
trine ..." and not sufficient workers to accomplish even this task. But, the
Moravians continued, "you may be assured that we prize this letter from
your Synod . . . and we hope that in future ... we may show our willingness
... to aid in the vineyard of the Lord." 50 While the Lutherans gained no
tangible relief for their problem, the fraternal relation between the two
Christian groups was strengthened. To a large degree, Schober was re-
sponsible for this growing relationship. Simultaneously, the tension
caused in Salem by Schober's ordination was gradually relaxing.
,0 Reply to letter of Pastors Storch and Shober, Salem, 26 February 1814, Fries and
others, Records of Moravians, 7:3544.
/\fter his ordination, Gottlieb Schober and his family con-
tinued to live in Salem. He was not, however, considered a Moravian. It
was a most unusual arrangement for that period, made possible only by
Schober's long attachment to the community and the promise of behavior
consistent with Moravian ideals. After 1810, the appearance of Schober's
name in community records diminished significantly; when he was men-
tioned, it was always "Pastor Schober," "Schober," but never "Br.
Schober." Not until 1819 does this practice change, and even then the use
of the term "Brother" was infrequent. Both Gottlieb and community
authorities viewed his denominational attachment as Lutheran, not
Many years later, Gottlieb's daughter, Anna Paulina Herman, told a
Lutheran historian that her father always considered himself a Moravian;
"he lived and died as a member of that Church." 1 Information from the
period 1810 to 1819 does not support that interpretation. It reflected a
judgement made a generation after the events and after a reconciliation
between Schober and his native church. It is true that Gottlieb was far
more concerned with Christian principles than denominational distinc-
'Bernheim, History of German Settlements, p. 442.
156 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
tives; he believed both groups were together on the Augsburg Confes-
sion. His daughter could, therefore, argue that no important change had
been made. But neither Moravians nor Lutherans of that period would
have agreed with that interpretation.
Schober's activities in Salem during this time are difficult to docu-
ment. Scattered references would indicate that most of his law practice
was dropped. He continued as the village tinsmith and paper maker but
spent a great deal of time studying and writing in connection with his new
calling. He was still interested in land, although more in development
than speculation, leading to the publication in 1812 of a handbill
addressed to the citizens of Surry County:
I have the right by virtue of a resolution of the last general assembly to obtain
5,000 acres of land in 200 acre tracts. Now as I wish to use this privilege for
the benefit of the citizens, I do hereby offer to any person who wishes to
enter and secure 200 acres of land to deliver the location to me or to my son
Immanuel together with a note for the entry money payable in twelve
months in any saleable country produce, and I will give my note to such
person to convey to him or his order as soon as possible after the surveyor
has made the return of his works and I receive my grant. . . . 2
Response was disappointing but as late as 1826 Gottlieb and one man
were still negotiating a deal stemming from this grant. 3 Schober again
tried to buy the land on which the paper mill stood, offering $500 for it in
1813, but the Overseers considered the offer too low for land so close to
the community. Part of the land was considered for the establishment of a
"machine for the carding of wool" by Vaniman Zevely, Schober's son-in-
law, but the matter was dropped because "Pastor Schober has changed his
Nathaniel's situation in Salem was a matter of some concern. He was
the community postmaster and elected member of the Congregation
Council, but his future prospects were not bright. Although he was
considered for several positions in Salem, nothing materialized. His
health prevented the realization of his dream to serve the church, causing
him increasing distress. Finally in 1810, Nathaniel decided to leave Salem
2 Document in Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
^Thomas A. Ward to Gottlieb Schober, Clarksville, GA, 4 September 1826. Schober
Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
4 Board of Overseers, 18 January 1814, Moravian Archives. Also undated entry imme-
diately prior to above reference.
Leadership among Lutherans • 157
for his father's farm which was eleven miles south of Salem in Rowan
County. There he intended "to establish himself a store" but asked to
maintain his connection with the Salem congregation. Permission was at
first denied "because of the unpleasant circumstances that might arise for
the community." When Nathaniel persisted, the Board of Overseers
reversed its decision "so long as he remains single and keeps the character
of a brother." 5 The Overseers hoped he would ultimately return to Salem
but knew of no position at that time which would satisfy him. While no
evidence of a father's guidance survived, Gottlieb knew the potential of a
storekeeper's occupation and likely gave his son encouragement.
By early 1811 Nathaniel indicated a desire to marry according to
regulations of the community, but the lot disapproved his suggestion of
Susannah Elizabeth Peter. Ultimately he married a single sister from the
Hope congregation, Rebecca Hohns, in a ceremony performed by the
groom's father. 6 In October 1813, Gottlieb purchased another farm of
1,032 acres a few miles east of Salem from William Dobson. The tract
contained an important crossroads, the north-south road running from
Danville, VA, to Charleston, SC, with a branch running through Salem,
and the east-west road coming from Wilmington and Cross Creek ( Fayet-
teville) toward the mountains to the northwest.
Dobson operated an inn to accommodate stagecoach passengers
along with a store for local convenience. 7 After Schober's purchase,
Nathaniel and Rebecca moved to the crossroads to take over the business
there. Nathaniel's store made him a reasonable living, although the war
between the United States and England created difficulties. In 1815 he
wrote to his father:
Goods will now sell slow, people already begin to say "we will wait a while,
they are dear yet," — and they buy only what they cannot do without, but we
must paddle along as fast as we can, the loss can not be very great, but the
profits for the next year may be small. . . .
5 Board of Overseers, 30 January, 20 February 1810, Moravian Archives. For an
indication of the location of the farm, see Salem Diary, 5 December 1810, Fries and others,
Records of Moravians, 7:31 14.
6 Elders' Conference, 6 February 181 1, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7 :3 144-
45; Salem Diary, 14 May 1812, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3168.
"Jules G. Korner, Jr., Joseph of Kernersville (Durham, North Carolina: Seeman
Printery, 1958), pp. 33-34, pp. 98-99; Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3134n;
Stokes County Deed Books 5:121, 7:151, 10:352.
158 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Plague on the cotton! I must try and sell it for cost and charges, — in the
country here I don't think it will sell, though spinning about here is paid
higher for than in Salem, from what you state, — I have none finer than what
I sent you, but plenty coarser. 8
Health continued to be a problem for Nathaniel. He was constantly
bothered by a cough which became severe in bad weather. He wrote to his
I have used the horehound pills Daddy sent but cannot say that I perceived
any particular effect produced by them. . . . Am now taking a raw egg every
morning before breakfast, which has been often and highly recommended to
me, it tastes well and feels healing to the throat and breast as it passes down. .
He remained thin, although
my appetite is good, and [I am] at liberty to eat as much as I please, so that in
this respect I am better off than Van [Zevely], who it seems is as hard put to
reduce himself, as I am to get fat. 10
His letter contained one reference to preparation around Salem for
possible conflict with the English: "I heard several of your great guns
today, and shall be glad if some of the boys dont get worse wounded by
peace, than they would by War."
Emmanuel continued to study law with his father and with Archibald
Murphey. When he tried to set up practice in Salem in 1811, permission
was first denied, then reluctantly approved with the hope that he "would
give up his plan completely." 11 The young man persisted in spite of the
Elders' displeasure and hassle. In 1812 the Elders were "disturbed by the
length of time which Br. Emmanuel Schober is spending with Mr.
Murphy to prosecute his studies." 12 He was considered in 1814 for the
office of justice of the peace, but the Overseers felt that a single brother
should not hold such a position. Likewise, when the county court named
8 N. Shober to The Rev'd G. Shober, Crossroads, 1 March 1815, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
9 N. Shober to Immanuel Shober, Crossroads, 23 January 1815, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
10 N. Shober to the Rev'd G. Shober, Crossroads, 1 March 1815, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
"Board of Overseers, 25 June 1811, Moravian Archives.
12 Elders' Conference, 25 March 1812, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:317 '5.
Leadership among Lutherans • 159
him to "take the patrol over the Negro slaves," the Brethren expressed
preference for a more experienced person. 13
Anna Paulina had become a young woman. Early in 181 1 John Vogler
requested permission to make her his wife; the Elders "had no hesitation
in submitting the proposal to the Lord. The answer was 'No.' " 14 She soon
left Salem for a visit of several months in Pennsylvania, where she must
have met John Rice, a Philadelphia confectioner. The following year he
wrote the Salem Elders, asking permission to marry Anna. Salem officials
referred the matter to Bethlehem who received an affirmative lot. Rice
then wrote Gottlieb to request his daughter in marriage. The parents
were agreeable, but by this time Anna was back in Salem, and she refused
the proposal. 15
Gottlieb remained busy with his secular affairs and his pastoral work.
He generally stayed out of trouble with congregation officials, although
old conflicts were stirred again between Schober and Conrad Kreuser.
The latter purchased a quantity of sheet iron for Schober in Savannah,
charging a commission for the purchase. The freight was more than
expected, but Schober paid everything without objection. Upon opening
the boxes, "Pastor Schober found that all the sheet metal was rusty and
spoiled, which meant a considerable loss for him." He wanted to return
the goods to Kreuser, since the latter charged a commission for purchas-
ing and should have inspected the goods he bought. But the Overseers
supported Kreuser, although advising him to refund the commission.
Schober was far from satisfied, but saw no other way to recover his loss. 16
Throughout 1814 Gottlieb was immersed in an ambitious writing
project which culminated the following year with the publication of his
translation of Scenes in the World of Spirits, 11 written by the German
author, Johann Heinrich Jung, better known by his assumed name,
Heinrich Jung-Stilling (1740-1817), early in life a tailor and school-
master, studied medicine in Strasbourg to become a surgeon. He met and
13 Board of Overseers, 20 December 1814, Moravian Archives.
14 Elders' Conference, 23 January, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3143.
'^Elders' Conference, 1 April, 13, 27 May 1812, Fries and others, Records of Moravi-
16 Board of Overseers, 5, 28 March 1815, Moravian Archives.
17 (New Market, Virginia: Ambrose Henkel and Co., 1815).
160 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
became close friends of Wolfgang Goethe and Johann Herder, two
poet/philosophers of the period. In his own autobiography, Goethe
characterized Jung-Stilling as a man of
sound common sense, which rested on feeling and therefore was determined
by the affections and passions; and from this very feeling sprang an enthusi-
asm for what was good, true and just in the greatest possible purity. 18
He had an indestructible faith in God and in the assistance immediately
flowing from him. He could express himself eloquently among friends,
speaking, Goethe said, as if in a dream so that listeners seldom wished to
interrupt his train of thought. He tended toward mystical expressions
and was, therefore, somewhat narrow, but that characteristic
was accompanied by so much goodwill and his eagerness with so much
gentleness and earnestness, that a man of intelligence could certainly not be
severe towards him, and a benevolent man could not scoff at him or turn him
into ridicule. 19
From 1787 to 1803 Jung-Stilling taught at the University of Marburg
as professor of economics, during which time he wrote Scenen ans dem
Geisterreiche, one of his many fictional works with a mystical theme.
Jung-Stilling was a Presbyterian, but first and foremost he was committed
to "the doctrine of Jesus and his apostles . . . ." 20 Late in life he came to
know the Moravians in Europe and found in them spiritual compatriots.
It was probably through this association that Schober became acquainted
with the book and decided to translate it for English readers.
Scenen was written in two volumes, but Schober translated only the
first. He promised "to express the sense contained in the original with
fidelity . . ." and "did not permit himself to change, cover or alter the
opinion of the Author." Schober admitted that parts of the book were
very difficult to translate — especially a section of poetry written in
Hexameter metre, which Schober struggled to retain in translation. He
believed that the book would
dish up some new well seasoned and agreeable sauce, or views in religious
conceptions, in order to induce immortal souls to reflect on the manner of
18 Wolfgang Goethe, My Life, Book 9 quoted in R. O. Moon (trans.) Jung-Stilling: His
Biography (London: G. T. Foulis and Co. ), p. 9.
19 Goethe, My Life, Book 10, quoted in Moon, Jung-Stilling, p. 11.
20 Scenes in the World of Spirits, Preface to second edition, p. vii.
Leadership among Lutherans • 161
their future existence, and in good earnest to prepare to meet their Lord and
Redeemer with fruits of faith and love. 21
The book was a work of religious speculation about life after death.
Jung-Stilling assumed that the concepts of reward and punishment after
death were necessary for human society, consistent with divine justice,
and assured in divine revelation. He set about to depict in "reasonable and
scriptural manner," scenes from the next world, based on "essential and
I believe that by lively expositions of the destinies, which men have to expect
after death, to effect much good, to support and strengthen some in their
way to perfection and to deter many from the commission of vice. 22
Writing in the manner reminiscent of a Socratic dialogue, and of John
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progre ss, Jung-Stilling created fifteen "scenes" from
the next world. A complete exposition of the work is unnecessary at this
point, and a few examples will suffice to reveal the character of the work
to which Schober was attracted.
The first scene, entitled "The Great Awakening," depicts a man
coming to consciousness immediately following death:
Nowhere life and breath, no stirring, no motion. Everything appears to me
only a shade; I move on as upon a cloud, below me the earth is no more, above
me no stars, no sweet rays of the moon. I alone in this chilly void. How do I
feel? I float along easy, as fog on the wings of the wind, easy I float, I rise, I
sink according to the slightest wink of my will. If this is dreaming I have
never dream'd thus with such clear and manifest knowledge. Almighty God!
No! I don't dream — it is awakening to eternal life. 23
He meets another spirit who, it turns out, was a skeptic in life and does
not know what to expect in this new existence. They meet Satan, but both
recoil when evil is truly exposed:
see, what a bloody roll developes itself in emptiness. See what flaming
writing blazes above it, as if written by phosphorus. Lord! what abomina-
tions painted in living colours. ... O if men on earth would once behold such
They also meet the Prince of Light, traveling on a carriage of clouds,
"dazling bluish white, like high polished silver . . . his raiment, quiet
21 Translator's Preface entitled, "To the Indulgent Reader," p. iv.
22 Scenes in the World of Spirits, Preface to the first German edition, p. vi.
2i Scenes in the World of Spirits, pp. 1-2.
162 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
lightening; his hair, evening clouds, after the sun had brightly des-
cended." To the first man, the Prince of Light says: "You believed much,
but loved less, you will see the Lord and rejoice, yet you will serve the
lowest of his friends." To the skeptic, he says
You must begin to learn your ABC as children, and then it will be seen if your
poor tenebrity can be enlightened by the tender rays of wisdoms — follow me
to the place of your destination. 24
In the second scene, the bewilderment of several scientists is revealed;
"I believed," one said, "it to be the duty of man to study the works of the
Creator and thereby to learn to know him. . . ." No, comes the answer,
"this is the case when secondary objects are taken for primary ones." One
should study man and creation "out of love to God" and not as a means to
increase human happiness. These scientists are sent "in the region of
shades (Hades) until your souls are entirely purified from all attachment
to the corporeal nature. . . ." 25
The third scene describes "The Joyful Meeting" as a soul beholds the
city of God, carried there on the eagle wings of faith and love. In the
fourth, another soul discovers the realities of hell, described first in tones
of disorder, darkness, corruption, and finally in vivid pictures of fire,
brimstone, and catastrophe.
In subsequent scenes, other kinds of men arrive in eternity — the poor
man, the determinist, the greedy merchant, the antiquarian, and the
Christian who seeks salvation in churches and forms — each finding
himself assigned to appropriate experiences of purification, enjoyment,
or suffering. Jung-Stilling makes his point in each case: man's salvation is
by faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Through him only is access to
the city of God obtained and eternity enjoyed. No human enterprise or
effort can accomplish this task; most serve only to delude man as to the
real source of his redemption.
Beginning in the tenth scene, Jung-Stilling depicts the experience of
O, in what glory am I clothed: my radiance encreases in brightness and
beauty; it appears to me, as if I was encircled with a rainbow, consisting of
24 Scenes in the World of Spirits, p. 12.
^Scenes in the World of Spirits, p. 22.
Leadership among Lutherans • 163
blending colours of light, and inwardly such a source of peace openeth as
surpasses all understanding. 26
Advancing into the heavenly world, the soul exclaims:
What an incomprehensible beauty of all nature! — An atmosphere like silver
gauze over light lazuli blue; an earth like bright gold in fusion; all the miriads
of objects as if made out of jewels by the greatest artist.
Every where glowing colours of light; and nothing but ideals of original
beauty! Teach me the language of the blessed, that I may worthily sing the
praises of joy's creator! What an innumerable multitude of radiant heavenly
princes with high flowing palm-branches are moving hither! Great and
exalted God! what majesty! how glorious then wilt thou be! 27
Then a holy man of an Eastern religion comes to eternity where he is
shown the "great mysteries" of the true faith. Jung-Stilling is thereby able
to incorporate the leading ideas of the Christian faith. Man was created
good, and with perfect freedom to choose between good and evil. Original
man allowed himself to be seduced by evil. To reconcile man, God created
"a being out of himself . . . called the Eternal Word or the Son of God." 28
God revealed himself to a particular people under the name of Jehovah,
but they rejected him. Finally, God's Son came in the flesh to earth:
he revealed the law of morality pure and clear, and lived up thereto in the
highest degree, so that he was the highest pattern of humanity; he [per-
formed] extraordinary deeds . . . [so that] the most common human under-
standing was absolutely convinced that he was the ambassador of God to
But again he was rejected, and this time the Jews executed him. This
suffering of the innocent satisfied divine justice and made possible the
reconciliation of sinful man with God. Death could not finally control the
Son of God; on the third day he was raised to reign forever. Through this
mystery, the corrupted man is saved when he approaches the throne of
God through the sufferings of the Son of God.
In a final scene, Jung-Stilling speaks of the nature of the church. True
Christians are very scarce, he says. Most do not really understand the
corruption of sin; some even consider Jesus only a good man and a large
26 Scenes in the World of Spirits, p. 158.
27 Scenes in the World of Spirits, p. 162, p. 164.
^Scenes in the World of Spirits, p. 184.
164 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
number of humans actually hate all religion. But all must finally come
under the just judgement of God.
Altogether, Scenes in the World of Spirits was a book designed to fit
its own time. European Christianity was caught between a formalized
state religion and a rapidly rising concept of "heart religion" called
Pietism. Literary works were rejecting the coldness of rationalistic
thought and embracing a warmer and more human Romanticism. Jung-
Stilling was caught up in both Pietistic theology and Romantic literary
expression. The result was a book which was mystical in character almost
to a point of losing contact with reality. Schober liked this book, but even
he drew back at times from the fantastic depictions, shown by his
footnotes signed "Translator" at places he considered overdrawn. 29
The important thing about this book for the study of Schober is the
very fact that he chose it to translate for American readers. It was a
prodigious project; the handwritten manuscript of tremendous propor-
tions among the Schober papers testifies to the effort expended. The
book was not typical of native American writing of the time and certainly
was not produced for the average reader of the North Carolina backcoun-
try. Schober perhaps sensed that more enlightened Americans could
appreciate the kernels of religious truth and the deep feeling of the
Romantic writer. He was not wrong — just ahead of his time. A leading
interpreter of American religion sees the Romantic writings as very
important in the development of religious expression of the nineteenth
century. The Romantics, he says,
proclaimed the coming of a new age in which the full potentialities of human
life would find release from the bondage of legalism and conventionality. . . .
They saw artistic expression in all genres as a way to truth and a ground for
hope. . . . Revelation was not bound by doctrinaire tradition but was plenary;
it could be drawn from dreams, from folk tales, from the depths of conscious-
ness, and from nature itself. 30
He sees the influence of Romanticism in Jonathan Edwards and Ralph
Waldo Emerson and concludes that the development of Romanticism in
the nineteenth century may in fact mark the beginning of the modern era
in the Western world. 31 To be sure the wisdom of Schober's choice could
29 Scenes in the World of Spirits, p. 42.
30 Sydney E. Ahlstrom, "The Romantic Religious Revolution and the Dilemmas of
Religious History," Church History 46:2 (June 1977), p. 155.
31 Ahlstrom, "The Romantic Religious Revolution. . . ." p. 170.
Leadership among Lutherans • 165
be questioned; Jung-Stilling was only on the fringe of European Romanti-
cism. The enduring value of his writings cannot begin to compare with
those of Goethe, Schiller, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Schleiermacher, or
Fichte. Schober's own pietism would have blinded him to the values of
these authors. But Jung-Stilling spoke his language and Schober wanted
to share that vision of truth with his fellow Americans.
Despite the immense amount of time consumed by the translation,
Schober found time to maintain his responsibilities as a Lutheran pastor.
At the Lutheran Synod of 1814 he reported sixty-one baptisms in his
congregations. The following year he was ready to report another thirty-
eight, but as he traveled to the meeting he became ill and was forced to
return home. Much influenza was reported in Salem that year, and the
fifty-nine year old pastor was beginning to feel his age. The illness
lingered until the warm days of spring erased the chill from the air.
During the summer Gottlieb resumed many of his duties although still
bothered by occasional weakness. He even made a trip to South Carolina
with Carl Storch and Robert J. Miller to counsel some churches regarding
the baptism of children of inactive Christians. He was present at the
October 1816 synod in nearby Guilford County and appeared well
That synod was one of the most creative meetings of the body to date.
Schober preached the opening sermon in fine style and in later discus-
sions agreed to take on two additional small congregations in Rowan
County, Beck's and Pilgrim, whose pastor had moved to Indiana. He
reported forty-nine baptisms for the year and
that a short time ago a Sunday School was begun in one of his congregations.
Girls of all ages and boys up to 12 years old were given free instruction in
reading German by teachers from Salem. 32
Members of the synod were very pleased and immediately recom-
mended Sunday schools "not only for the children, but for all who wish to
learn to read German." It was felt that pastors should maintain oversight,
using the catechism of Luther in order to increase religious knowledge as
well as developing skills in German.
Actually Schober's initiative in regular religious training on Sunday
began in 1813 — the first such effort in North Carolina. Schober organ-
ized in his churches a "free school . . . [where] young people are instructed
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1816, p. 4.
166 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
in reading and singing . . ." on the Sundays when he was preaching at
other congregations. 33 Three years later several teachers at the Girls
Boarding School indicated their desire "to begin a Sunday school for
children who otherwise had no religious instruction." 34 Schober imme-
diately offered his church near Salem close to the home of Henry Rippel,
a lay leader. In early September, twenty-five children gathered to learn to
read English and German. The response was exciting, and the Moravians
in Salem were so pleased with the idea that they started a similar school in
Salem to teach poor children from the surrounding country. 35 The move-
ment grew slowly but steadily in the congregations of various denomina-
tions. Before many years passed, Sunday schools became an important
part of rural congregations in North Carolina. Long before free schools
were available, many young people learned to read and write in the
sessions which lasted from early morning to late afternoon.
The synod also struggled with two problems whose theological impli-
cations caused concern. Churches in South Carolina were unsure of a
proper response when parents who were inactive Lutherans requested
baptism for their children. Storch, Schober, and Miller visited with the
churches and gave a report of the situation to the synod: could "unawa-
kened souls" answer the baptismal questions properly? How could true
faith be imputed to the child when the parents seemed not to possess it?
The synod discussed the problem, finally agreeing that pastors could
baptize children "provided honorable Christians will act as sponsors and
assume and answer the questions . . ." 36
The other problem related to ordination of a young man named David
Henkel. He was an authorized catechist, but asked for ordination in order
to administer the sacraments. There was much debate on the request;
evidently Henkel had not been actually called to a church or else he had
not met the educational requirements of the synod. Debate was quite
heated, and, to avoid an impasse, Schober suggested a compromise of
giving Henkel authority by the laying on of hands to administer the
sacraments for one year. Storch hotly opposed the compromise, but it
33 Salem Diary, 7 February 1813, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3194.
34 Elders' Conference, 28 August 1816, Moravian Archives.
35 Salem Diary, 20 April 1817, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3327.
36 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1816, Peschau translation, p. 27.
Leadership among Lutherans • 167
passed and Henkel was given a "temporary ordination." 37 Schober hoped
that by 1817 all necessary requirements for full and permanent ordina-
tion would be met. The resolution of the conflict portended ill for the
One other action of the synod seemed innocent enough and construc-
tive but led to momentous consequences in years to come. Several minis-
ters recognized that the Lutheran church in North Carolina was little
known and poorly understood because of the churches' use of German in
an English speaking environment. Philip Henkel suggested that an
extract of the minutes of the synod and its rules be prepared in English so
that the ideas and operations of Lutherans could become known. The
secretary, Gottlieb Schober, was instructed to prepare a document of "our
Orders and Rules" as soon as possible.
Schober left the synod very tired; the strain of the meeting had taken a
toll on his physical strength. Within a week, Schober was again ill, and he
wrote to Emmanuel who was in Baltimore on business that "I had several
hard fainty or staggering attacks called vertigo, but as yet there appears
no dangerous symptoms." 38 By mid November the relapse became so
serious that he began to prepare his memoir.
My life has now extended sixty years and will, judging by many signs,
probably soon be at an end. Certainly it was long enough and the utmost goal
that I prayed for in my twentieth year when everyone expected in an illness I
had, that I would take my departure then. If it last longer it depends on the
Lord, and he will know why. For, that he should find me useful in his service
is not believable to me now. Since I began to preach, little visible good has
come out, wherefore I must recognize myself as a very useless servant. He
has thousands of means and ways to attain his purpose and does not need
such a poor creature as I am. 39
Gottlieb was obviously despondent. Although he "had in the studying,
preaching and administering of the sacraments many an undeserved joy
of my soul," he was now ready only to serve God in the eternal kingdom.
How beautiful the thought! Here I was useful for nothing. From youth there
was an ever enduring compulsion to serve, but the will was lacking. There it
will be otherwise in the kingdom where one is always sound and well. Here
37 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1816, pp. 10-12.
38 G. Shober to Emanuel Shober, Salem, 5 November 1816, Schober Papers, Old Salem
39 Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives.
168 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
the best intention was often of no endurance, the dependence on visible
things often confused faith, love and hope. . . .
The crisis passed and gradually Schober regained his strength and his
resolve. He soon was convinced that the illness was God's way of awaken-
ing a new sense of humility. It is amazing, he wrote,
how the great merciful God and Saviour let himself down so far and leads,
consecrates, protects and keeps such a poor wretched human being, and how
his patience and mercy never becomes cold nor old until he finally achieves
his purpose. 40
The physical recovery meant that God was not through with him! As his
spirit revived, the sense of mission was rekindled, and Schober returned
to his tasks with vigor.
He turned immediately to the task assigned by the synod. It occurred
to him that a more ambitious composition was in order. The year 1817
would mark the 300th anniversary of the beginning of Martin Luther's
reformation. What better way to commemorate that event than a history
of the Reformation that would continuously narrow in scope until it
focused on North Carolina Lutherans and their work! During early 1817
Schober worked feverishly. It was a major undertaking to be completed in
so short a time. He used Joseph Milner's History of the Christian Church,
Viet Seckendorf's History of the Reformation, abridged by John F. Roos
in 1781, Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary, David Hume's History of
England, and Frederick William Young's volume on the doctrine of
Martin Luther. 41 When the synod opened in October 1817, Schober asked
that his manuscript be examined. Its lengthy title suggested the contents:
A Comprehensive Account of the Rise and Progress of the Reformation of
the Christian Church, by Doctor Martin Luther, actually begun on the 31st
day of October, A.D. 1517; together with interspersed views of his
character and doctrine, extracted from his books; and how the Church estab-
lished by him arrived and progressed in North America; as also, the
Constitution and Rules of that church
The Synod appointed Robert J. Miller, Philip Henkel, and Joseph E. Bell
to review the manuscript. They
41 Gottlieb Schober, A Comprehensive Account of the Blessed Reformation of the
Christian Church by Doctor Martin Luther (Baltimore: Schaeffer and Maund, 1818)
Preface, p. ix. The book title was quickly shortened in Schober's time to Luther. That
designation will be used for subsequent citations herein.
Leadership among Lutherans • 169
considered it a very useful and much needed work and calculated to make our
Church known better and they also recommend that it be published at the
Synod's expense. 42
The report was adopted and the treasurer (Schober) was directed to
proceed with publication of 1500 copies with synod funds.
The books shall be sold and the receipts from the sale of books shall flow into
the Treasury, and after paying off the incurred indebtedness, all is to go
towards helping to forward the kingdom of our Lord. 43
Schober's purpose for the book was clearly stated in the preface. He
hoped to show, first, the power of God in the life of Martin Luther which
enlightened him concerning the nature of the true church. Second, he
promised to examine the character of the reformer, his weaknesses and
strengths and his devotion to the pure truth in the Word of God. Third,
Schober planned to recount the success which God gave to this enterprise
and how it spread over the world. By this
It is humbly hoped, that all Protestant churches, and the individuals of them,
will, by reading this short sketch of the almost miraculous escape of their
forefathers from intolerable oppression, be awakened to unceasing thanks
and praises, combined with humble thanks to God on high, that he would
preserve them, and the Lutheran Church in particular, in the enjoyment of
pure evangelical doctrine, and all the means of grace; and to raise the spirit of
love and union, among all the believers in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the
only mediator between God and man; so that we may arrive to that happy
period foretold, of living blissfully, as one flock, under one Shepherd. 44
In the historical sections of Luther, Schober made no claims to
originality. Using published sources, he reviewed the "oppression of
Christendom" by the "Roman Pope and his Church," the events of
Luther's career including the ninety-five theses, opposition from Rome,
the Diets of Worms, Nuremberg, Speyer, and Augsburg, the reformation
in Switzerland, Scotland, and England. Schober used 143 pages of octavo
size to reach this point in his narrative. He then detailed the transplant-
ing of the Lutheran Church to America and its arrival in North Carolina.
The constitution of the synod was reproduced along with a summary of
Lutheran practices. The latter section treated the nature of the sacra-
ments, rules for observance of baptism and the Lord's Supper, guidelines
42 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1817, Peschau translation, p. 34.
43 Schober, Luther, Preface, p. viii.
170 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
for the organization and governance of congregations, the treatment of
slaves, and a summary of the actions of the synod of 1817.
The book was well written for the audience to which it was addressed.
Initially it stirred no opposition and the synod as a whole praised Scho-
ber's efforts. Tucked in the middle of the book, however, was a summary
of the Augsburg Confession, including interpretative notes by Schober. In
years to come these notes, conveying Schober's interpretation of the
Confession in an ecumenical fashion, made him famous or infamous,
according to the perspective of those making the judgment. For that
reason, a brief review of Schober's ideas on the Confession is necessary.
The Confession of Augsburg was developed in 1530 in an attempt to
heal the breach between the followers of Martin Luther and the Roman
Catholic church without compromising the essence of Luther's ideas. It
was written by Philip Melanchthon, Luther's close associate, "to show
that the Lutherans had departed in no vital and essential respect from the
Catholic Church, or even from the Roman Church, as revealed in its
earlier writers." 45 It took pains to separate Lutherans from the more
radical reformers such as Zwingli and the Anabaptists. The idea of
justification by faith was prominently set forth, while the concepts of the
mass, denial of the cup to the laity, monastic vows, and prescribed fasting
were firmly rejected. But the confession affirmed neither the idea of
Scripture as the sole source of authority nor the priesthood of the
believer, both very important ideas in Lutheran theology.
Schober's publication of the Confession was designed to enhance the
understanding of Lutheranism by North Carolinians unfamiliar with the
group. Consequently, he concentrated on the essentials of each article,
omitting the commentary in the Confession which showed Lutheran
differences from the radical reformers. In two or three places, however,
his translations did result in a slight change of meaning, almost always in
a manner more acceptable to other denominations. In Article VII on the
Christian church, the accepted translation is "and to the true unity of the
church, it is enough to agree concerning the doctrine of the Gospel and
the administration of the Sacraments." 46 Schober translated, "For it is
sufficient for the true unity of the Christian church, that the preaching be
4, Williston W. Walker, A History of the Christian Church. Rev. Edition (New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959), p. 334.
46 Quotations of the Confessions are taken from Henry E. Jacobs, Book of Concord,
(Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House, 1882), p. 37ff.
Leadership among Lutherans • 171
pure, according to the true understanding of the gospel, and the sacra-
ments administered according to Divine scripture." In Article IX on
baptism, the confession says baptism "is necessary to salvation and that
through Baptism is offered the grace of God." Schober did not include the
words "to salvation," softening the statement slightly but not materially.
On the Lord's Supper, the Confession stated that "the Body and Blood of
Christ are truly present and are distributed to those who eat " Schober
said "the body and blood of Christ are really present, and are given and
administered under the external signs of bread and wine." In addition,
Schober added a footnote:
As Christ has promised unto his disciples and true followers, that he will be
with them to the end of the world . . . and as he has been pleased to give us the
gracious assurance to be present with us whenever we assemble in his name,
how firmly may we not rely on his promises, especially when we celebrate
the Lord's Supper according to his holy institution, in solemn commemora-
tion of his sufferings and death, and appropriate his merits to our own
While it could be argued that Schober's use of the term "really" for "truly"
constituted a change of meaning, such fine distinction would be uncon-
vincing. But the footnote speaks of the kind of presence of Christ usually
described as spiritual and the word "commemoration" is more Calvinistic
than Lutheran. It seems clear that Schober, while clearly affirming a real
presence, was interpreting it in more of a spiritual sense than Luther or
Melanchthon. Finally, on the article concerning confession and absolu-
tion, Schober clearly felt that it was no longer binding.
This article was inserted at the time of the delivery of this confession, chiefly
to shew a conciliatory spirit to the other party, but the practice of private
confession and absolution is entirely discontinued in our Lutheran
Schober did in fact interpret the Confession in a manner more
congenial to the beliefs of other Christian denominations, especially the
Reformed and Presbyterian groups. Lutherans have differed in their
evaluation of his effort. It was clear that his peers in the North Carolina
synod agreed with his ideas. Even those who later accused him of forsak-
ing historic Lutheran distinctives admitted that he was in the mainstream
of American Lutheran interpretation at the time. Two of his later detrac-
47 Schober, Luther, p. 106.
48 Schober, Luther, p. 107.
172 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
tors were members of the investigating committee which reviewed the
book initially and recommended wholeheartedly that it be published by
the synod! Samuel S. Schmucker, an early historian who favored an
ecumenical interpretation, commended Schober as consistent with cur-
rent Lutheranism. Schmucker was confident that American Lutherans
accepted the fundamentals of the Augsburg Confession "together with
acknowledged dissent on nonessential aspects of doctrine." 49 He went to
great lengths to show how both Schober and Storch, and indeed most
prominent American Lutherans of the time, would not demand a literal
and absolutely binding interpretation of the Confession. Later Lutheran
historians, however, have taken a less complimentary view of Schober's
efforts. G. D. Bernheim considered some of Luther "compromising and
unionistic." 50 The latest study of North Carolina Lutheranism seemed to
accept Bernheim's judgment rather uncritically: Schober
was not in favor of Lutheran distinctiveness in confessions and preferred
cooperation with other Lutherans and other denominations even at the risk
of compromising historic Lutheran doctrine. He desired a united Lutheran
church and indeed a united Protestantism in America. 51
While Bernheim, writing in 1862, may be forgiven his zeal for denomina-
tional exclusiveness, the same trait advocated in 1953 is less admirable.
Schober did not hide his belief that the fundamentals of the Christian
faith were more important than denominational distinctives. In the
conclusion to Luther, Schober pointed out that the important doctrines of
most Protestant denominations were not significantly different from
those of Luther. Why is the one Church of Christ split into so many
forms? "MY FRIENDS, at a proper season, the Lord will unite us all "
In the meantime, we should concentrate on the converting of souls to
Jesus, not proselyting among ourselves.
But thank God, we see the morning star rising, union is approaching, in
Europe by Bible Societies, in America likewise, in which are united all
persuasions for propagating the everlasting gospel ... By Missionary
Societies united and separate, sending out hundreds ... By the exertions of
rich and poor to send out sound religious tracts ... By the hundred thousand
49 Samuel S. Schmuckei The American Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: E. W. Miller,
1852), p. 200.
5(l Bernheim, History of the German Settlements and of the Lutheran Church, p. 433.
'''Jacob L. Morgan, Bachman S. Brown and Johr Hall eds., History of the Lutheran
Church in North Carolina 1 803-1953, (N. P., 1953), p. 43.
Leadership among Lutherans • 173
children now by Sunday schools taught to know their God and Saviour ... By
frequent revivals of religion in our country. . . , 52
After having studied the ideas of the several groups, Schober could see
nothing of importance to prevent a cordial union.
And how happy would it be if all the churches could unite, and send deputies
to a general meeting of all denominations, and there sink down upon the
rock, Jesus, at the same time, leaving to each their peculiar mode and form;
this would influence all the Christians to love one another when and where-
soever they met, and they would commune together. 53
It is difficult to believe that this idea was stated so clearly and forcefully in
1817! Here was indeed a significant link in the history of the ecumenical
movement; 54 it was a vision 100 years before its time. With unerring
intuition, however, Schober realized that the hope he envisioned would
be severely questioned.
I think my sentiments and experiences are as orthodox and calvinistical as
need be, and yet I am a sort of speckled bird among my calvinist brethren. I
am a mighty good church man, but pass among such as a dissenter in
prunello. On the other hand, the dissenters, think me defective either in
understanding or conscience for staying where I am. — Well, there is a
middle party called methodists, but neither do my dimensions exactly fit
them; I am some how disqualified for claiming a full brotherhood with any
party; but there are a few among all parties who bear with me, and love me,
and with this I must be content at present; and so far as they love the Lord
Jesus, I desire and by his grace, I determine, with or without their leave, to
love them alll
It is impossible I should be of one entire color, when I have been indebted
to all sorts, and like the jay in the fable, have been beholden to most birds in
the air for a feather or two. . . . why could I not be content with [one] color,
without going amongst other flocks and coveys to make myself such a motley
figure? Let them be angry; if I have culled the best feathers from all, then
surely I am the finest bird. . . .
Let us rejoice in our individual beauty, never however, so as to stick to
colors, but all of us expect to put on the unspotted and uncolored white
raiment, wherein at some period we may all find one another in the
innumerable armies surrounding and praising the Lamb slain."
"Schober, Luther, p. 209.
"Schober, Luther, p. 210.
54 The best one-volume history of the ecumenical movement recognized Schober's
contribution in his preaching among Lutherans, but did not show awareness of the book
Luther or his important role in the formation of the General Synod. See Ruth Rouse and
Stephen C. Neill, A History of the Ecumenical Movement, 1517-1948, (Philadelphia:
Westminster Press, 1954), pp. 242-43.
"Schober, Luther, pp. 211-13.
174 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
This was a vision of the Church of Christ. In a real sense, the mind of
Gottlieb Schober transcended the sectarianism of American denomina-
tionalism. But he was no mere visionary; each man must do his part to
translate ideals into reality. For Schober, the first step was unity among
Lutherans in a General Synod. That effort would consume the remaining
energies of his life.
Besides approving Schober's composition, the synod of 1817 made
positive steps toward an institution for theological education. The matter
had been under discussion for several years, but financial support was
lacking. Just before the meeting, a letter arrived from John Bachman,
pastor of St. John's Church in Charleston, South Carolina, proposing a
cooperative effort for a theological school. His church was connected with
the New York synod from which, Bachman wrote, missionary Lutheran
teachers might be available in the future. The synod considered this
possibility, deciding to await Bachman's personal visit the following year.
Philip Henkel and Joseph E. Bell then reported that they had made a
beginning of a small institution in Greene County, Tennessee, which they
hoped would be adopted by the North Carolina synod. 56 According to
Bell, the chief teacher, students would study theology along with Greek,
Latin, German, and English languages. The synod praised the efforts of
these ministers and voted enthusiastically to lend their support to this
new seminary. The ministers announced a special collection for May 1818
and appealed to the churches to give generously.
The synod was closed with a sermon by Schober commemorating the
anniversary of the Reformation. He spoke from Revelation 3:15 "O that
you were cold or hot." 57 His remarks were not preserved, but without
doubt, he was inspired by the work of this synod. What better way to
remember the work of Luther than to pour oneself into the enlighten-
ment of Christians and the preparation of ministers to preach the gospel
of Jesus Christ. Schober would have warned, however, that neither Jesus
or Martin Luther tolerated lukewarm believers. God has a purpose for
every Christian and only a life of total dedication was an instrument
worthy of God's use.
As Gottlieb rode from Pilgrim's Church in Rowan County back
toward Salem, he must have wondered what God had in store for him.
56 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1817, p. 11.
^Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1817, p. 12.
Leadership among Lutherans • 175
Only a year ago he faced death, despairing on the failures of his life. But
God had chosen not to take him. How would God use him in the days to
come? Could it be that God would call him to sound the beginning of true
church unity in America?
Model of Salem
as it appeared about 1830
^contributing to the sense of failure and depression which
Gottlieb experienced during his illness in 1815 was the renewal of
problems relating to his land speculation of previous years. The claim on
Maryland Indian lands was still unsettled and Schober still hoped for a
favorable verdict. It was the North Carolina claims of the 1790's, how-
ever, which now arose to haunt him and to deepen his despondency.
A large part of the Surry County land which Schober entered in 1795
was sold to Timothy Pickering of Philadelphia. Some years later it was
determined that parts of the land were subject to an older title. Gottlieb
wrote to Pickering that, "I allways am ready to make you satisfaction
according to our original contract for the quantity of Land found covered
by older Titles." 1 This offer, however, was not accepted by Pickering, who
employed legal counsel to sue Schober in court. Gottlieb retained Thomas
Ruffin of Hillsboro to represent him and personally acquainted the
attorney with the specifics of the case when Ruffin visited Salem in early
1815. While no record of that conversation remains, subsequent corres-
pondence indicated that both parties agreed to arbitration outside of
'Quoted in Gottlieb Schober to Thomas Ruffin, Salem, 12 February 1816, Schober
Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
178 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Schober became concerned in early 1816, however, when he learned
that Pickering wanted arbitrators to consider not only the issue of land
covered under older titles, but also the quality of all of the land and the
original purchase price. This, Schober believed, was unfair. Although
Pickering had not seen the land prior to purchase in 1795, he had accepted
the word of his own agent regarding quality and price. Schober offered
through Ruffin to settle the whole matter out of court for $ 1 ,000 in North
Carolina currency. "I am willing to do so to be done with it, but I am
confident that amount could not be recovered." 2 The offer was rejected.
Arbitration was set for 15 November 1817, in Raleigh and continued the
following summer. The decision went against Schober. In May and
December 1819, Gottlieb paid a total of $3,000 to Pickering's agent. 3 The
matter of quality and price was not mentioned in the settlement, so the
award must have related to older titles. Still it was severe disappointment
to Gottlieb; he could only hope to recoup part of his loss from his partners
in the enterprise.
Although carefully not mentioned in 1795, Schober shared the risks
and rewards of land speculations with several friends, including Johann
Heinrich Herbst and Samuel Stotz of Salem and Jacob Van Vleck of
Bethlehem. 4 Letters were written to all partners or their descendants to
the effect that as each had shared in the profits of 1795, "it is nothing but
justice that every honest and able partner should refund to me the
proportion [of the loss now sustained]." 5 The response of at least some of
the partners angered Schober far more than the arbitrators' negative
decision. And by late 1819 the explosion of his wrath was so interwoven
with other matters as to once again raise the question of his continuing
presence in Salem. The Pickering case was but one of the complicated
strands that made up Schober's life of this period. Another distressing
element of the time related to Gottlieb's oldest son Nathaniel.
3 Receipts dated 14 May and 26 December 1819 signed by William Gaston, attorney for
Timothy Pickering, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
4 Receipt dated 17 July 1795 showing disbursements to partners by name of money
received from Timothy Pickering. Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
5 G. Shober to Messers Joshua Bowman, Henry Senseman and Pete Transou, Salem, 2
September 1819- Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
An Ecumenical Vision • 179
From birth Nathaniel possessed a weak physical constitution. He was
constantly troubled with a bad cough and in winter seemed always to have
colds and fever. By 1817, "his lingering complaint turned to a consump-
tion, which gave way to no remedy " 6 Desiring to spend his last days in
Salem, he sold his 1,032 acres at the crossroads east of Salem to Joseph
Kerner. There was no good position available for him in Salem except the
office of postmaster, and it was soon obvious that his body would not
sustain him long. His health continued to deteriorate, but "he appeared to
rejoice in his Situation, and enjoyed as long as he could attend public
worship. . . ." He
united in prayer with others to the Lord for assurance of his adoption and
obtained full faith according to the Word of God, that his Soul was redeemed.
. . . Only 14 days before his death he desired to partake of the body and blood
of the Saviour in the holy Sacrament, and when this was administered to him
and his wife . . . those present were deeply impressed with the presence of
the Lord; and the humble Joy which glittered thro his feeble Phisognamy,
proved beyond contradiction that the Lord had united with him so effect-
ually that all fear of death had vanished and that his Soul longed to see him
face to face. . . . 7
On 14 June 1818, Nathaniel died. The Schober household knew both grief
and comfort. The eldest son was gone, leaving a wife and two small
children; but at the same time his long suffering was over, and the family
was confident in its belief that Nathaniel was eternally safe.
The remainder of the family was blessed with sound health and active
lives. Emmanuel was fully engaged in the practice of law and was
involved in the opening of a branch of the Bank of Cape Fear in Salem. He
further followed his father's footsteps by winning in 1819 the first of
several terms in the North Carolina Senate. 8 Anna Paulina was still
teaching in the Girls' Boarding School. The entire family shared her
delight in receiving an invitation to accompany Salem's representatives
to the Unity Synod meeting in Europe in 1818. Although she was away
from Salem for more than a year, she returned to delight the family with
stories of the travel and the synod. Certainly the $1,734.13 which the trip
6 Memoir of Nathaniel Schober, Moravian Archives.
8 Salem Diary, 12 August 1819, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 17:3403.
180 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
cost placed a burden on family resources; but Gottlieb knew that the value
of the experience to his daughter could not be measured in dollars. 9 Maria
Theresa also taught in the Girls' School until 1819. In that year she was
married to Peter Wolle, a Salem single brother who had just been named
associate pastor of the Bethania congregation. 10 Johanna and Vaniman
Zevely still lived in the neighborhood of the paper mill on a 160 acre tract
of land which Gottlieb owned and later transferred to the young couple.
On this land in 1815 Vaniman set up the first steam-powered wool-
carding machine in the area. 1 ' They also built a sizable brick dwelling on
this plantation between 1815 and 1818. 12 It was the first house to stand on
the land where the town of Winston was established several decades later.
Gottlieb himself, despite his advancing years, seemed to flourish in a
renewed grasp on life. He still served his Lutheran churches regularly
and, as already mentioned, worked extensively on matters of the synod.
He did retire from the tinsmith trade in 1818, but his other business
affairs were as complicated as ever.
Early in 1819, the actions of the Moravian Unity Synod of 1818 were
read in Salem, causing considerable stir and discussion. A significant
change was the elimination of the lot from the marriage process except in
the case of ministers. 13 Marriage was still within the providence of God's
will and the approval of local Elders was necessary, but Moravians
recognized that divine guidance in this matter might be found through
personal conviction as well as in the lot. While this change of practice did
not affect Schober, the alteration of philosophy did. Another action of the
synod required a new signing of the community regulations by all
members of the congregation. As Salem prepared to meet this require-
ment, an unidentified brother arose in the Congregation Council to point
9 Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
10 Peter Wolle came to Salem from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, in 1814 to assume
leadership of the boys' school. He was later a leader in the Single Brothers' House. The
Wolles served in Bethania from 1819 to 1823 when he was called to Pennsylvania.
"Memorabilia of the Congregations of Wachovia, 1815, Fries and others, Records of
12 Adelaide Fries, Stuart T. Wright and J. Edwin Hendricks, Forsyth: The History of a
County on the March. Rev. ed. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976), p.
^Results of Synod of 1818, Chapter 4, Fries and others, Records of Moravians ,7 ':3565.
An Ecumenical Vision • 181
out that according to community regulations only members of the Unity
of Brethren were allowed to own houses in Salem, yet Pastor Schober was
in violation of these rules. The brother did not wish
to cause any difficulties with Pastor Schober, but [is concerned] simply
because he binds himself by his signature of the new principles to the
removal of all such disorders. . . . The other members of the Council . . .
believe this objection ill-founded because our pledge only refers to the future
and not to circumstances of the past. 14
Nevertheless, the matter was referred to the Elders' Conference and the
Board of Overseers. By the time the Elders considered the matter,
Schober had advised church leaders on his own accord that "he was
entirely willing to sign the congregation rules, and that he greatly wished
that he might again be considered as a Brother." 15 After discussion, the
That this is a good opportunity to correct the anomalous situation. The
doubt whether a Brother can be at the same time a Lutheran minister is
invalid, for in former times this was often the case and it is in harmony with
the foundation principles enunciated by our Synod. 16
The most obvious example of a similar situation was none other than
Count Zinzendorf himself. Zinzendorf was an ordained Lutheran minis-
ter and served a Germantown, Pennsylvania, congregation in 1741,
although he was also a bishop in the Unity of Brethren. Whether this
historical fact was considered in 1810 when Schober was ordained cannot
be ascertained. The decision in 1810 was made in Europe, not in Salem, by
the Unity Elders' Conference. Now, quietly, the Salem Elders' Conference
corrected an error of the past. Although Schober's actions and tongue had
in the past caused enough rancor so that influence from Salem might have
affected the 1810 decision in Europe, the ensuing years had healed the
wounds and established the sincerity of Schober's intent. To clear any
doubts he immediately sought formal permission of the Overseers to
continue operating his bookstore. That establishment had expanded in
recent years, but the Overseers had not challenged Gottlieb on the matter.
The Board approved Schober's selling of "books and medicine, and
1 Congregation Council, 22 April 1819, Moravian Archives.
15 Elders' Conference, 5 May 1819, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3413.
182 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
certain small wares which are advantageous in his trading for rags [for
the paper mill]." 17 Once again he was happily a Moravian Brother.
He has declared that he sought principally the union of heart and enjoyment
of fellowship, and desired no part in the management of the affairs of the
congregation, though he did not wish to be entirely excluded from Congrega-
tion Council. 18
Within a few days, Schober was on his way to Baltimore where he
attended a synod of Lutheran ministers. The trip and its consequences
threw Gottlieb once again into the throes of controversy.
The Lutheran Synod of 1819 met in April of that year instead of
October. The change was caused by a letter from the Synod of Pennsylva-
nia expressing a desire for "a more intimate union with all the Synods of
our church, in the United States " 19 The various synods were invited to
send delegates to the Pennsylvania synod meeting in June to explore the
possibilities. The North Carolina synod was therefore changed in order to
consider this idea and to authorize delegates to attend the Pennsylvania
meeting. Although the October meeting time had just been changed to
Trinity Sunday (usually late May or June) by the Synod of 1817, the
president, seeing this as sufficient cause, took the initiative to change the
date to April with the consent of several ministers and prior notification
of all members. At the April gathering these procedures were explained
to the delegates and unanimously agreed to by the body. Attendance was
normal with fourteen clerical leaders and fourteen laymen as compared to
the 1817 attendance of twelve and nine and the 1820 attendance of
thirteen and seventeen. 20
The synod first considered the question of a union. There seemed to
be no question as to its desirability, provided the North Carolina body was
not compromised. Schober was elected to attend the Baltimore meeting
17 Board of Overseers, 10 May 1819, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 1\54\4.
18 Elders' Conference, 15 May 1819, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3414.
After 1818, the Salem Congregation Council once again consisted of all males of the
congregation who had reached the age of majority. Results of Synod, 1818, Fries and
others, Records of Moravians, 7:3567-68.
19 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1819, p. 5.
20 The latest history of North Carolina Lutherans incorrectly emphasizes that attend-
ance at the 1819 was unusually low, enforcing an interpretation that the called synod was
unwise and, by implication, unrepresentative. Morgan, Brown and Hall, eds., History of
the Lutheran Church in North Carolina, p. 46.
An Ecumenical Vision • 183
"for the purpose of regulating with them, in the name of the Synod, such a
desirable union, and to attempt that such a one be affected." It was
That if he accedes to a constitution for the purpose of uniting our whole
church, and that constitution is according to his instructions, received from
this Synod, that such a constitution be adopted by us. But that if such
constitution is not consonant with such instructions, the same must first be
communicated to our next Synod; and only then, if adopted, can it be binding
on us. 21
A committee for instructions was appointed, its report later approved,
and the instructions given to the elected delegate.
The synod proceeded to the business of the new seminary endorsed by
the 1817 meeting. A constitution had been requested at that time and
again by letter of the secretary in June 1818. Nothing had been received
nor were the sponsors present in 1819. The synod decided unanimously
to hold the $246 given for the institution until its character was approved
by the synod. The absences without explanation of Philip Henkel and
Joseph Bell were not excused, and the group expressed regret for "the
irritating letters written to individuals of this ministry by the rev'd Mr
Ph. Henkel and J. E. Bell." Schober, as secretary, was to write them of the
action of the synod regarding available money for the seminary and the
need for a constitution, expressing
our conviction of the necessity of supporting an institution submissive to
Christian rules, and subject to the constitution of the Lutheran and
Reformed Churches. 22
The final important action of the 1819 Synod that involved Schober
related to David Henkel. He had come to the synod expecting the full
ordination that had been postponed by previous synods. Instead, the
young man had to fight a possible censure by the body. A letter from
Andrew Hoyl of Lincoln County stated that Henkel "had treated him
rashly, and made use of improper means to deprive him of his good
reputation." After a hearing of both parties, the complaint was found to
be well grounded. "During this examination, a good deal was also asserted
against the doctrine preached by David Henkel. . . ." 2i In the next session
21 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1819, p. 6.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1819, p. 10.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1819, p. 11.
184 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Adam Castner asserted that Henkel and his congregation unjustly excom-
municated him. After another hearing, the synod reinstated Castner and
examined Henkel on the charge
that he preached the doctrine of transubstantiation — that whoever is bap-
tised and partakes of the Lord's Supper is saved — that he has the right to
forgive sins, and other doctrines leading to superstition. . . .
Henkel declared that he did not believe such, and that he had never and
would never preach these doctrines. The synod cleared him of the accusa-
tions but declined to renew his license as a candidate. He was made a
catechist for six months after which he must
produce to our president sufficient credentials that peace reigneth in his
congregations, and that from without, especially from our reformed, or
Presbyterian brethren, no important complaint existed against him. . . , 24
If these conditions were met, the president, Charles Storch, could renew
his candidacy until the next synod. To the printed minutes, Schober
attached a pastoral reflection of his own, probably without authorization
by the synod. He addressed the reader, apologizing that the synod trans-
actions "had more the appearance of law court business, than business
belonging to the ministry of the gospel." 25 But the synod must attend to
its members, and problems must not be hidden, "yet I endeavored not to
paint any thing in livelier colors than the original picture required. . ."
The many differences existing among us are lamentable, he said, espe-
some teach according to their own spirit and will, and do not permit the
spirit of meekness, love, tenderness, mercy and patience to reign; but suffer
the spirit of distrust, jealousy, wrangling, disputing, and disposition to
domineer. . . .
The solution, Schober stated, was to pray for the guidance of God and,
setting aside all wisdom from below, know nothing among our congrega-
tions but Jesus Christ and him crucified, and to proclaim justification by and
through him alone. . . . 26
No names were mentioned, but in light of the accusations against David
Henkel, Schober's feelings were quite clear. The rumblings of trouble
ahead were thus faintly heard.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1819, p. 12.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1819, p. 20.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1819, p. 21.
An Ecumenical Vision • 185
Schober attended the Pennsylvania Synod meeting in June 1819
where he discussed the possibilities of union. He spoke forcibly that the
union should be founded on the Augsburg Confession but was unable to
secure agreement for the inclusion of this Confession among the found-
ing principles. 27 Many Lutherans of this period were increasingly viewing
the Confession only as a symbolic statement, rather than binding theolog-
ical doctrine. Schober's interpretation of the Confession was considered
conservative in Lutheran circles in the North, forcing him to return to
North Carolina with a proposal to be submitted to his own 1820 synod.
The proposal was circulated among the Lutheran pastors and imme-
diately encountered opposition from several of them. The ensuing con-
troversy ended in the creation of the Synod of Tennessee, dedicated to the
Augsburg Confession as a binding doctrinal statement and to absolute
opposition to the General Synod. The details of this division belong more
to a narrative of Lutheran history than to a study of Schober. 28 But, as
usual, he was so immersed in the affair as to necessitate a summary of
events. The controversy centered on two points: the ordination of David
Henkel and the idea of a General Synod of Lutherans in America.
Soon after the April 1819 synod, Philip Henkel in Tennessee received
a letter from his brother David relating details of the doctrinal examina-
tion to which he had been subjected and the action of the synod withhold-
ing ordination. Philip came to North Carolina on Trinity Sunday 1819,
insisting that the April meeting had been illegitimate. When no other
ordained ministers arrived, and Storch informed him that there was no
further business to be conducted, Philip ordained David Henkel and
Joseph E. Bell to the full ministry in clear violation of the synod's
established procedures and in total disregard of the events of the April
meeting concerning David's ministry and preaching. Several congrega-
tions of the area were addressed in which the senior ministers of the
synod were accused of failing to advance some young men in the
27 Samuel S. Schmucker, The American Lutheran Church, (Philadelphia: E. W. Miller,
1852), p. 214.
28 The best sources arejacob L. Morgan, Bachman S. Brown and John Hall, eds. History
of the Lutheran Church in North Carolina 1803-1953 (n.p.: United Evangelical Lutheran
Synod of North Carolina, 1953). Of less value is the older work of G. D. Bernheim, The
History of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministerium of North Carolina (Philadel-
phia Lutheran Publishing House 1872). A revision was made by George H. Cox in 1902.
29 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1820, pp. 3-6.
186 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
The Synod of 1820 therefore met in a high state of tension at its now
established time of Trinity Sunday. It proved to be a climactic meeting for
several reasons. President Storch first reviewed, step by step, the events
of the preceeding year, including the April 1819 meeting, its considera-
tion of the Pennsylvania request, the actions regarding David Henkel,
and the July ordination of Henkel and Joseph Bell. Storch counseled that
"as errors had been committed on both sides," the breach could be healed
by Philip's reuniting with the body and subjecting himself to the rule of
the majority. It was clear that the ordinations of Henkel and Bell were not
at this point considered valid. Philip was silent, but the young ministers
began to speak of the errors of the synod:
they accused us of not teaching water baptism to be regeneration, and that
we did not accept the elements in the eucharist as the true body and blood of
the Lord, corporeally; and therefore, and because the plan for a general union
of our church . . . was against the Augsburg Confession . . . they could not
unite with us. . . . 30
Since the synod meeting place was a congregation pastored by David
Henkel, the body felt it necessary to adjourn and conduct the remainder of
its sessions in a Lincolnton hotel. Later Joseph Bell asked to reunite with
the synod and when he agreed to abide by its rules and the will of the
majority, his ordination was validated. Several members made the same
request on behalf of David Henkel, but he himself did not appear nor
agree to the conditions. Therefore he was declared "no minister of the
Lutheran Church of North Carolina and adjacent States."
The opposition of the Henkels crystallized around the proposal for a
General Synod, even though they voted in favor of the initial exploration.
After Schober's trip to Baltimore, he circularized the results of his
conversations with the Pennsylvania brethren. He reported to the Synod
of 1820 that he had been cordially received and "they immediately
appointed a committee, in unison with [myself], to deliberate upon, and
form a plan for a general union. . . ." 31 A plan was developed, then debated
on the Pennsylvania Synod floor, paragraph by paragraph, and finally
passed. The North Carolina group
was now to deliberate whether the plan can be adopted. The plan was
hereupon read paragraph by paragraph, debated and elucidated, and the
'"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1820, p. 6.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1820, p. 15.
An Ecumenical Vision • 187
expediency of a general union admitted also by such who had their scruples
as to the present plan. 32
The vote was called: fifteen yes and six no — the necessary two-thirds
majority was achieved. It was then reported that the Synod of Ohio had
also approved the plans. North Carolina was entitled to two clerical and
one lay delegate. Robert J. Miller, Peter Schmucker and layman John B.
Harry were elected, with alternates available if needed. Schober was one
of these alternates. The plan for the General Synod was not published
with the 1820 minutes as might have been expected. In light of subse-
quent events, that omission may have been deliberate.
The plan was fairly simple. It assumed that Christ gave no particular
prescription on church government, thereby allowing the church free-
dom to make regulations according to circumstances. A general synod of
churches was therefore possible but not mandatory. The synod would
for the exercise of brotherly love, for the furtherance of christian harmony;
for the preservation of the unity of the spirit in bond of peace. . . . 33
It claimed the name "The Evangelical Lutheran General Synod of the
United States of America" and defined its members as deputies from
regional Lutheran bodies, apportioned according to the number of
ordained members in the body. All deputies would have equal rights and
votes. The synod was to acquaint itself with local situations and to
examine and approve all manuscripts and books such as catechisms,
liturgies, compilations of hymns, and confessions of faith designed for use
in public worship. The General Synod could recommend new materials of
this nature and lower bodies were expected though not mandated to use
these them. At the same time the General Synod clearly did not allow
to prescribe uniform ceremonies, to introduce alterations, in things respect-
ing faith, or in things which respect the manner of publishing the gospel of
Jesus Christ the Son of God and foundation of our faith which might oppress
the conscience of the brethren in Christ. 34
32 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1820, p. 16.
33 Appendix to Minutes of the Lutheran Synod of Tennessee for 1821 entitled "The
Objections of the Committee against the Constitution of the General Synod," p. 13.
34 Appendix to Tennessee Synod Minutes, 1821, p. 25.
188 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
The plan provided for orderly expansion of regional bodies by subdivi-
sion, while trying to avoid the occurrence of schismatic divisions. Differ-
ing grades of the ministry were recognized, along with progression from
one to another. The synod did not view itself as an appeals tribunal in
regional matters, but did reserve the right to advise synods, congrega-
tions, and ministers on matters of doctrine and discipline and to seek to
settle disputed matters in a amicable manner. The synod could propose
plans for denominational institutions, such as seminaries, homes for
widows and orphans and create a treasury for the accomplishment of this
aim. Finally, the synod was to promote the interests common to all
Christian bodies for the ultimate benefit of the Church of Christ.
Ministers opposed to the idea of a General Synod were quick to locate
and exploit flaws in the proposal. In published critiques, no part of the
plan was commended; if a particular section elicited no objections, it was
simply passed over without comment. Some of the criticisms related to an
interpretation of a word or phrase and were easily countered by propo-
nents. In fact, in retrospect, the opponents seemed to weaken their
impact by concentrating on minor points. Consequently, the true weak-
nesses were lost in a tumble of rhetoric. Opponents recognized that
while the synod claimed the name "Evangelical Lutheran" it failed to
include reference to any documents, such as Luther's Catechism or the
Augsburg Confession, long held dear by more conservative Lutherans.
This was a legitimate problem because the liberal Lutherans wished to
avoid anything more than a broad acceptance of the Confession with
acknowledged disagreement in nonessential items. Consequently the
plan was purposefully and wrongfully left ambigious. Similarly, the
synod's role regarding approval of materials used by the congregations in
worship was left cloudy. It claimed no power to prescribe uniformity in
worship, yet insisted that only approved materials be used.
To be sure, these and other weaknesses could be corrected once the
basic idea of a General Synod was approved. But conservative ministers
would have no part of the idea now or later and even prohibited their
congregations from hearing the preaching of a Lutheran "connected with
the General Synod."
Later generations of Lutheran historians have described these events
as the "drawing away" of the Tennessee Synod. But at the time, it could
hardly be faithfully described as anything except a bitter schism. Both
sides propagandized wavering congregations and celebrated their
An Ecumenical Vision • 189
The issue of the synod was unfortunately entangled with the personal
and doctrinal problems associated with David Henkel. His preaching on
baptism and the Lord's Supper was at variance with most American
Lutherans of the time and probably with historic Lutheranism, although
enough ambiguity existed so that Henkel could claim to be faithful to the
German reformer. The differences were set forth in a letter to the Synod
of 1820 from a Methodist minister, James Hill, who asked clarification on
the Lutheran position. Some ministers in his area were preaching that
"baptism by water effects regeneration, and that the body and blood of
Christ are corporeally received along with the bread and wine in the
Lord's Supper." 35 The synod officially answered that
baptism is beneficial, and ought to be attended to as a command of God: but
we do not believe that all who are baptized with water are regenerated and
born again unto God, as to be saved, without the operation of the Holy
Ghost; or in other words, without faith in Christ. And, as to the second
question, we do not believe, nor teach, that the body and blood of our Lord
Jesus Christ is corporeally received along with the bread and wine in the
Lord's Supper; but that the true believer does spiritually receive and partake
of the same through faith in Jesus Christ, and all the saving benefits of his
death and passion. 36
This letter drew the lines of theological battle between the synods of
North Carolina and Tennessee, and, more particularly, between Gottlieb
Schober and David Henkel. For the next several years, relations between
the two groups were poisoned by this controversy as each leader used his
sharp intellect and even sharper pen to establish truth and error. That
clash will deserve close attention later, but since events in Salem also
contributed to Schober's state of mind, a return to that scene is necessary.
The letters which Gottlieb had written in 1819 to his former partners
in the 1795 land speculation loss were only partially effective. The heirs
of Philip Transou refused "to participate in the burden of the loss he had
suffered now as they had participated in the gain of this speculation." 37
Since these heirs were Maria Schober's family, the matter was rather
sensitive. Schober asked the Overseers to determine the correct settle-
ment, but they viewed the whole matter as "rather phony." Nevertheless
an investigating committee was appointed to talk to the Transou heirs.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1820, p. 13.
36 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1820, p. 18.
37 Board of Overseers, 21 February 1820, Moravian Archives.
190 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Schober was satisfied. Two months later the matter was still unsettled
and another conversation revealed that the Transous had sought legal
advice and found that "according to the laws of this country, they would
not have to pay anything to Pastor Schober [and] they have decided to act
accordingly." 38 Schober's wrath was vented in a biting letter attacking
with Bible verses, etc., Philip Transou's heirs and the Collegium. He imposes
responsibilities on the Collegium which it has never claimed and could never
accomplish. The Collegium unanimously decides that no official answer is to
be given to this letter. Every member may, if Pastor Schober trys to talk
about it, give his opinion according to his own conviction. 39
By September, Schober's conversations and conduct "toward Dr.
Kuehln and the heirs of Philip Transou" had become unbearable and
"completely against our [community] orders." Schober was given an
official written reprimand by community leaders which alluded to the
fragile nature of Schober's relationship to the community during pre-
vious times. 40 The reference to Dr. Kuehln in the reprimand established
that land speculation losses was not the only problem. Old complaints
against Schober were again being raised, for once again his business
dealings were encroaching upon the provinces of others.
A 1819 invoice revealed that Schober purchased over $100 worth of
shoes and boots for resale — seven pairs of men's wax shoes, twelve pair
of grain shoes, three pair of women's "leather sponges" and several other
kinds of boots for children. 41 Such articles stretched the definition of
Schober's business considerably. In addition, Gottlieb had for several
years supplied the community with certain patent medicines and one
popular item in particular made of red bark. When Dr. Christian David
Kuehln arrived in Salem in 1818, Schober promised to give up his
medicines. Once again, seemingly with some weariness, the Overseers
had to speak to Schober about "illegal selling." Very little had been said to
him in this regard since his Lutheran ordination, and Schober had quietly
expanded his operation in direct competition with several Salem enter-
,8 Board of Overseers, 10 July 1820, Moravian Archives.
39 Board of Overseers, 24 July 1820, Moravian Archives.
40 Board of Overseers, 4 September 1820, Moravian Archives.
4 'Bill of sale from John Bedford and Company, Philadelphia to Reverend Gottlieb
Schober, 14 June 1819, Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
An Ecumenical Vision • 191
prises. He now possessed a small but broad inventory of household and
personal goods as well as books, maps, and paper supplies.
All came under the umbrella of "trading for rags for the paper mill."
The governing boards, of course, were not fooled. They had long before
decided that Schober would never completely conform to community
regulations in this regard, but his violations, if kept within reason, could
be tolerated by community leaders who could readily observe that the old
economic ideals were essentially waning. Doubtless, Schober's activity
contributed to the dissatisfaction of many others regarding Salem's closed
economic organization. Others also quietly stretched the definition of
their business activity beyond authorization, but none so often and as far
as Schober. He therefore became, after the death of storekeeper Traugott
Bagge in 1800, Salem's best example of an individual businessman,
successful in the accumulation of a moderate estate by means of personal
In addition to these matters, Gottlieb could feel a true sense of
satisfaction with several public and private events. In early 1819 he
preached for the first time in a Moravian Church. The Hope congregation
was without a pastor, and Schober spoke there "to a numerous and
attentive audience." 42 In December 1819, he participated in the fiftieth
anniversary of the founding of the Single Brothers' House. He was one of
only five of the original residents still living in Salem. Two years later he
was one of fourteen original Salem citizens celebrating the fiftieth anni-
versary of Salem's earliest meeting hall. 43 And then in early 1821 there
was another wedding in the family. Anna Paulina had almost married
Johann Senseman of Salem in 1816, but the lot was negative. Again in the
summer of 1820, Peter Kluge of Graceham, Maryland, requested to marry
Anna Paulina, but she refused. Then in December 1820, Johann Gottlieb
Herman, 44 Salem's former schoolmaster for boys, when he was called as
pastor of the Newport, Rhode Island, congregation, proposed marriage
to the second daughter of Gottlieb Schober. The lot was affirmative and
"Salem Diary, 14 February 1819, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3398.
43 Salem Diary, 27 December 1819, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3406;
Salem Diary, 13 November 1821, Fries and others, Records of Moravians, 7:3474.
44 Johann Gottlieb Herman was a native of Niesky, Germany, where he received a
strong formal education. He was a teacher in the boys' school at Fulneck, England for six
years prior to coming to Salem in 1816 in the same capacity.
192 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Anna Paulina accepted. 45 In January the Schobers welcomed this new
son-in-law to the family even while shedding a quiet tear as the bride left
Salem for her new home in Rhode Island.
45 Minutes of the Provincial Elders' Conference, 19 December 1820, Fries and others,
Records of Moravians, 7:3452-53. After the Synod of 1818, the lot was no longer required
in the marriage of most Moravians. The marriage of ministers, however, still included the
In his reformation day sermon of 1817, Gottlieb Schober articu-
lated a rapidly growing idea among American Lutherans. He voiced the
hope that "the spirit of love and union" might be awakened
among all who believe the divinity of Jesus Christ, the sole mediator between
God and man, so that we might come to the blessed time foretold of old when
we will live in peace as one flock under one shepherd. 1
So responsive was his audience in North Carolina that Schober wrote to
Pennsylvania Lutherans that "it would be good if the Lutherans and
Reformed were to unite with each other," citing as precedent the Plan of
Union already operating in Prussia involving the same groups. Schober's
Moravian heritage gave him ample foundation for his point of view.
Zinzendorf, though badly misunderstood by Pennsylvania Lutherans
almost a century earlier, had worked diligently to accomplish similar
goals. Now Schober echoed this heritage and found that he was not alone.
A Lutheran historian, George Lochman, writing in 1818, said:
I cannot help expressing my pleasure, in observing that the different
denominations are drawing nearer to each other and that bigotry is rapidly
'Quoted in Donald H. Yoder, "Christian Unity in Nineteenth Century America," A
History of the Ecumenical Movement. Ruth Rouse and Stephen C. Neill, ed. (Philadel-
phia: Westminister Press, 1954), pp. 242-43.
194 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
declining. In some parts of Germany and in Prussia, the distinction of
Lutheran and Reformed is already done away, and both churches consider
themselves as one body. And God grant! that this spirit of union and
brotherly love may continue to spread! God grant, that all who profess and
call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth and hold the faith
in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. 2
It must be concluded that Schober was not a maverick, leading North
Carolina Lutherans down the road to extinction, despite the judgment of
several later local Lutheran historians. This was a national, even interna-
tional movement within the Lutheran Church, and Schober was its most
articulate proponent in the American South.
There is no good evidence of the opposition of the Henkel family —
father Paul and sons Philip and David — to ecumenical ideas and the
concept of the General Synod until after the censure of David by the
North Carolina ministers because of his doctrinal ideas. In fact Schober
and Paul Henkel were close friends who exchanged letters of mutual
support and encouragement in the work of North Carolina Lutherans. 3
Philip Henkel reviewed and approved Schober's book Luther, even with
its strong ecumenical statements. But when the North Carolina ministers
postponed the ordination of David Henkel, a wound was opened.
In order to justify his own ideas, David Henkel had to find an issue by
which he could show that North Carolinians were deviating from historic
Lutheranism. That issue was the idea of a General Synod whose concepts
were wide enough for both Lutheran and Reformed traditions — and
perhaps even other confessional groups. When confessionalism tri-
umphed over ecumenism in the late nineteenth century, Henkel and the
Tennessee Synod were cited by some historians as the heroes of the
restoration of pure Lutheranism in America. 4 But those same historians
do not say that American Lutherans adopted Henkel's ideas, which, it will
become evident, were significantly radical at several points. Whatever is
the final judgment on this matter, a brief consideration of the Schober-
Henkel controversy is integral to an account of Gottlieb's ecumenical
2 Quoted in Yoder, "Christian Unity in Nineteenth Century America," p. 243.
} Paulus Henkel to Gottlieb Schober, Point Pleasant, Mason County, Virginia, 7 August
1816. Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
4 This judgment was initially made by G. D. Bernheim and not modified in the more
recent history of North Carolina Lutherans by Morgan, Brown, and Hall. Lutheran his-
torians writing from a national perspective are more balanced in their perspective.
Controversy with the Henkels • 195
By the time of the 1821 North Carolina Synod in June, David Henkel
had published an attack on the synod, its ministers, and the concept of a
General Synod. It was entitled the Carolinian Herald of Liberty, Religious
and Political, aimed precisely at the Lutheran congregations in North
Carolina. 5 He argued forcefully that a General Synod of Lutherans was a
step back toward the centralization characterizing Roman Catholicism.
Spiritual union of the believer and Christ already existed and that alone
was necessary. If the synod materialized
We may put the light kindled in the Reformation under a bushel; we may
draw the veil of death over our eyes; Christian liberty may hide her lovely
face, and weep tears of blood; and O! farewell ye happy seats of freedom,
where virtue had found an asylum; farewell thou sweet doctrine of free
justification, through the crucified. . . . 6
Henkel then launched into what such a synod might do, such as
establish a seminary in Pennsylvania and then require all candidates for
the ministry to attend. Or a synod might adopt new non-Lutheran
hymnbooks or liturgies and force the regional synods to follow suit.
"Luther's catechism, and the Augsburgh confession of faith might be
omitted without a breach of the [fourth article of the plan-proposal].""
He attacked the plan as the beginning of a national church including
Lutherans and other denominations.
Such are the visionary dreams of many in our days; hence they labor with
assiduity to promote this cause; and being the heralds of the destruction of
party walls, they anticipate in sharing great honors in this new
This new arrangement would, Henkel continued, require that doctrinal
differences be dropped, and a minister would be forced to believe his own
creed and every other one, even if some were in contradiction and
therefore in error. It would result in an oppressive established church,
robbing Americans of their freedom: "But now, Americans open your
eyes! another policy, under the cloak of a brotherhood, is at work; a
National Synod is in view." It would be only short steps, Henkel said,
until the clergy would
■"(Salisbury, North Carolina: Krider and Bingham, 1821).
6 Henkel, Carolinian Herald of Liberty, p. 8.
"Henkel, Carolinian Herald of Liberty, p. 11.
8 Henkel, Carolinian Herald of Liberty, p. 13.
196 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
suborn the populace to send such representatives to Congress subsidiary to
their long premeditated scheme; the Constitution might then be rejected,
America enslaved, the bloody flag of persecution hoisted — and they, like
temporal lords, reigning in the plentitude of power. 9
After this address, the pamphlet immediately turned to a description
of the events surrounding Henkel's censure by the "illegal" synod of April
1819, and his subsequent ordination in June of the same year. His entire
case rested on the fact that the April synod did not remove him from the
ministry but had postponed his ordination six months by which time the
"legal" synod had met and ordained him to the full ministry. Then
Henkel attacked the ordained ministers by name, Schober included, as
guilty of breach of the Synod Constitution by holding a secret, illegal
meeting at which the idea of a General Synod was presented and
approved. He further charged that these ministers had departed from
Lutheran doctrine on the Lord's Supper because they denied that the
corporeal body of Christ was present in the sacrament. Henkel argued
that all bodies are corporeal, even spiritual bodies; therefore the real
presence was corporeal presence. 10 For these and a number of other
reasons, Henkel declared that these ministers were no longer the true
Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina.
All Lutheran churches were invited to participate in the newly organ-
ized Tennessee Synod. In a final section, Henkel returned to the doctrine
of the presence of Christ in the Lord's Supper. He argued his points from
Biblical references and spent considerable time showing how this Luther-
an idea was different from the transubstantiation of Roman Catholicism.
It was obvious that Henkel believed his case would stand or fall on this
By the time of the June 1821 Synod, Henkel's composition had
circulated among the ministers. All were upset at the combination of
truth, half-truth, falsehood, and innuendo in a propagandistic pamphlet.
These ministers believed that they had dealt fairly, even generously, with
David Henkel, and had sought to correct his alleged deviations gently so
as to preserve his enthusiasm and leadership potential for the good of the
church. Now Schober and the others felt that Henkel's tactics were
devious and malacious — particularly his combining the weaknesses of the
'Henkel, Carolinian Herald of Liberty, p. 18.
10 Henkel, Carolinian Herald of Liberty, pp. 32- 33.
Controversy with the Henkels • 197
General Synod plan, which many had recognized and hoped later to
strengthen, with distortions in such a way as to portray a power-hungry
clergy about to destroy American religious freedom. If Henkel expected
Schober and the ministers to continue their gentle and conciliatory
treatment of the situation, he was quickly purged of that illusion.
Schober, as secretary of the synod, had in his files a letter from Henkel
which proved that he had initially accepted the actions of the 1819 synod.
The letter, written 6 May 1819, reported the numbers in Henkel's various
congregations and included a footnote relative to the Synod of 1820. "It is
agreed upon that the next conference be held in Immanuel's Church
Lincolnton in the Rev. Mr. Moser's congregation." 11 There was no
indication that the 1819 Synod was "invalid" or "illegal" — evidently that
line of thought only emerged later. Therefore Schober came to the synod
with his written response almost ready for the press. It was quickly
evident that Henkel was not the only Lutheran with a sharp tongue and a
pen that made words into weapons. Several read Schober's response, and
the synod officially agreed
to the opinions of the minister, particularly since Rev. Schober himself takes
responsibility for his language. It is desirable however that in the future
nothing more appear in print from our side; the Henkels may print wha-
tever they wish. 12
The synod believed that the complaints against David Henkel in 1819,
along with the proofs brought forth, should be published with Schober's
review in order that the record could be completely public. Once that was
accomplished, they did not intend to dignify the controversy further by
Schober's treatise was not a free-standing publication. He titled it a
Review of a Pamphlet, Issued from the Press of the Western Carolingian
in Salisbury, N.C. written by David Henkel. ... In the preface he said that
Henkels work was not worth a response,
but where so many absurdities, pompous bragging, low-bred billigsgate,
scurrilous language, scandalous comparisons, perversions of truth, libelous
charges, and meanness throughout, are dished up for the digestion of the
"David Henkel to Gottlieb Schober, 6 May 1819. Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc.
Archives. By the time of the 1820 synod Henkel had replaced Daniel Moser as pastor of
Immanuel Church, Lincolnton.
12 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1821, p. 15-16.
198 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
unwary, who are not able to detect poison without assistance, I could not help
[but]. . . to review the performance. . . . li
Even as Henkel had clearly identified Schober as the leader of events and
ideas which he opposed, Schober in turn did not hesitate to indict Henkel
with sarcasm and ridicule for attempting to disrupt the church by stirring
"the whirlpool of a mudpuddle."
Do not think that for your sake I reluctantly address you, for seven years'
experience proves you to be incorrigible. No: what is done here is only done
for such readers as have a desire to judge impartially. 14
After this brisque dismissal at the outset, Schober launched his attack. It
was altogether necessary to have read Henkel's work in order to follow
Schober's review. He countered Henkel's criticism of the plan for a
General Synod by several times turning Henkel's own criticisms back up-
on himself and his own activities in the new Tennessee Synod.
Every true christian must shudder at your scurrilous language about the
desirable union in spirit of all true lovers of Jesus, page 17.... You know that
no such union as you invent can be effected, or is contemplated; but surely, it
would be a millenum, and a desirable one, if the sheep of the flock, guided by
and belonging to one shepherd, could, while feeding on his pastures, love
one another with all their diversified colors. 15
This personal section was followed by a review of quarrel between
Henkel and Schober over the latter's alleged misuse of the office of
postmaster in Salem. Schober labeled the charge as absolutely false and
libelous. The language of this section spared nothing in the style of
nineteenth century pamphleteering. It was pointed, personal, and left no
doubt of the disgust and utter rejection with which Schober regarded
Henkel at this time.
In the next section, Schober with equal enthusiasm but less invective
defended the now accepted constitution of the General Synod, addressing
himself not to Henkel, but to the people. He advocated the education of
ministers and missionaries and denied that Pennsylvania would necessar-
ily dominate an educated ministry. He showed that the synod could not
1} Gottlieb Schober, Review of a Pamphlet, Issued from the Press of the Western
Carolingian in Salisbury, N.C., Written by David Henkel (Salisbury: Bingham and White,
1821), p. 5.
14 Schober, Review, p. 3-
15 Schober, Review, pp. 5-6.
Controversy with the Henkels • 199
misuse its authority regarding materials of public worship. On each
article of the constitution Schober carefully explained and argued the
provisions and ideas of the General Synod. He took pains to meet
Henkel's objections but was more intent on explaining the intent and
strengths of the constitution than in merely defending it. Then it was
back to the Henkel situation to rehearse once again the circumstances of
David's fight for ordination. Carefully Schober reviewed the sequence of
events, including errors he himself made in the printing of a Synod
Constitution in the book Luther. He also did not hesitate to point out the
errors in the Henkel's actions, but quietly. He then addressed David in a
series of questions, with emotional heat again beginning to rise, designed
to show David's rejection of the synod's action of censure and his determi-
nation to be ordained with or without the synod's approval. Schober
renewed his charges that Henkel's interpretation of the Lord's Supper
was more Roman Catholic than Lutheran. Henkel's arguments "are so far
fetched that common sense cannot comprehend them, and are abhorring
to the understanding. . . ," 16
The pamphlet came to a conclusion with a printing of the materials
related to doctrinal charges against Henkel at the Synod of April 1819. A
long letter from Andrew Hoyl was included, describing Henkel's preach-
ing and advocacy that
water baptism alone would produce our salvation if we would believe in it;
and that a person might receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost,and be and
remain a reprobate; and that the Holy Ghost would accompany water
baptism; and that ministers of the gospel could forgive sins. . . . 17
James Hill, another minister, reported that Henkel's preaching on the
from every view of his doctrine I could take, the tenor of it was as palpable
transubstantiation as ever was exhibited by a Catholic priest, although
probably not in such express terms. 18
Still another letter told of Henkel's advice to his young people
not to intermarry among Baptist, Methodists, nor any other profession; . . .
so might cows and horses marry. . . [because] there was scripture to prove
16 Schober, Review, p. 33.
17 Schober, Review, p. 50.
18 Schober, Review, p. 61.
200 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
that marrying in other professions was forbid — and quoted, where it says,
"Be Ye equally yoked." 19
Schober could have included additional charges made by deposition. One
man swore that Henkel preached that "he was as righteous as god" and
that he repeatedly said from several pulpits that he could forgive sin. 20
Another certified that in 1818 Henkel preached
if any person or persons received the Lord's Supper as an Emblem or picture
[he] is an Idol or Idolitrous Worshipper. But we hold that the Elements are
actually Christ's Body and Blood. 21
Schober rested his case without a final summation. He believed that the
evidence was overwhelming and would convince the impartial reader. A
concise summary of his point of view was contained in a letter written to
Andrew Hoyl about a year before the pamphlet itself.
By your last favour I was delighted to understand how you have exerted
yourself to make slanderers explain to the people how the mistake in the
Book [Luther] has arisen, that you did not succeed, and they refused, will all
assist to convince the honest part of the community, what Spirit it is that
causes disturbances, and will be of good use hereafter — Mr. R. J. Miller
writes that Philip [Henkel] threatened him to put something in Print if the
business is not settled according to (his idea) of Justice — To this I have no
Objection, for if they want to expose us they will be exposed, and in that case
I must publish the papers & depositions filed at our last Synod with your
consent, after which no honest Man will decide otherwise than that we ought
to have dismissed D[avid Henkel] totally, but from our side we shall not
publish any thing, believing as you say that Bounaparte reigned a while & is
now in Elba — but I wish you not to cease to be attentive to the movements of
Lyars; and that whenever opportunity offers you would assure the Members
of the community that we have no other point in view but to keep & preserve
our Ministry and Church uncontaminated with impurities — of Popish &
Despotic arrogancies & pride — and that the Ministries of our Church may
live up to the Doctrine they preach, and abide in Truth. The Rev'd Paul
[Henkel] wrote me a letter which I rec'd the same Day I rec'd yours — but
says not a Word of all their machinations, and only writes that he was tired of
travelling & was going home to rest for the Winter & would come out again
in the Spring, his Letter came unsealed, and as I do not know where to send
him an answer, I take the Liberty to enclose it to you unsealed, to be
forwarded to him. The Contents are only to give him my opinion that we
19 Schober, Review, p. 62.
20 Deposition of Samuel Hawkins, 23 April 1819, David Henkle Papers n338, South-
ern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
21 Deposition of Nathan Davis, 23 April 1819, David Henkle Papers n338, Southern
Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Controversy with the Henkels • 201
could very well excuse him from being further troubled with visiting us &
wish him a quiet accounting Time with a good Conscience. 22
It was a letter which foreshadowed the events and writings of 1821.
The pamphlets indeed exposed the events for public judgment, and,
while the arguments continued on a lower key for several years, these
outbursts seemed to have a purifying effect. Neither pamphlet was
flattering to its author and can only be evaluated as a product of the
time — a duel by ministers without guns. On Schober's part, all of his
other writings were of higher and more lasting quality. Likewise, Henkel
later published better works, including his Heavenly Flood of Regenera-
tion: or, A Treatise on Holy Baptism in 1822 and A Treatise on the
Person and Incarnation of Jesus Christ in 1830.
The Synod of 1822, "because of a public report that we had done D.
Henkel injustice" resolved once more to review the matter for the benefit
of the various churches in an appendix attached to the synod minutes.
This added nothing new but obviously circulated in places untouched by
Schober's Review. The Tennessee Synod reported petitions from several
Rowan County churches "who have publicly renounced the General
Synod, and request our Synod to provide a minister for them." 23 But some
of these returned to the North Carolina fellowship within a year. Sim-
ilarly, an itinerant preacher from the North Carolina synod was "received
with joy" in Tennessee churches in 1824 and a formal request for
affiliation soon arrived. 24 Certainly there was never a doubt about the
sentiments of the majority of the Lutheran churches and ministers. In
1821 Gottlieb Schober was elected president of the synod for the first
time. He was reelected to this position eight times until age and infirmity
forced him to relinquish most of his activity in the pastorate in 1830.
Attempts to reconcile the Tennessee ministers were made in 1823 but
to no avail. Finally it was decided to let the matter alone but, since
ministers connected with the General Synod were barred from churches
belonging to Tennessee, "so we advise our congregations to allow none of
their ministers to preach in our churches." 25
22 G. Shober to Andrew Hoyl, Salem, 6 November 1819, David Henkle Papers N338,
Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
23 Minutes of Tennessee Lutheran Synod, 1822, p.5.
24 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1825, pp. 7-9.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1824, p. 7.
202 • Gottlieb Scbober of Salem
The doctrinal ideas which separated the Tennessee ministers from
some other American Lutherans were summarized in a 1823 letter from
Tennessee to the Pennsylvania synod asking a response to these
1. Do you believe, that Holy Baptism, administered with natural water, in
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, effects the
forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and confers everlast-
ing salvation upon all who believe it, as the words and promises of God
2. Do you believe that the true body and blood of Christ, under the form of
bread and wine in the Holy Supper, are present, administered, and received?
Do you also believe that the unbelieving communicants receive in this
Supper the body and blood of Christ, under the form of bread and wine?
We do not ask whether the unbelievers obtain the forgiveness of their sins
thereby, but whether they also receive the body and blood of Jesus in this
3. Do you believe, that Jesus Christ, as true God and man in one person,
should be worshipped?
4. Is it right for the Evangelical Lutheran Church to unite with any religious
organization that seeks to deny the doctrines of the Augsburg Confession
and Luther's Catechism? Or is it right for Lutherans to go to the Holy Supper
5. Is your Synod to be henceforth ruled by a majority of the voters?
6. Does your Synod intend still to adhere to the declaration that Jesus Christ,
the Great Head of his Church has given no special direction or order for the
establishment of Church Government, as it is declared in the Constitution of
the General Synod? 26
The Pennsylvanians did not respond to this inquiry, nor to a similar one
According to the Tennessee minutes, repeated attempts were made
toward reconciliation, but the North Carolinians did not respond. A
public meeting was set up in 1826 near Organ Church in Rowan County
to discuss points of doctrine, but the North Carolinians refused to be
drawn into a debate. 27 The schism was a reality; complete fellowship
between the two groups was finally restored only a century later in 1921.
In addition to dealing with Henkel's pamphlet, the first North Caroli-
na Synod under Schober's presidency carefully analyzed point by point the
General Synod Constitution passed in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1820.
The local synod voted first on each section and then unanimously
26 Socrates Henkel, History of the Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod (New
Market, Virginia: Henkel & Co., 1890), pp. 59-60.
27 Henkel, Tennessee Synod, p. 70.
Controversy with the Henkels • 203
accepted the whole document. Charles Storch, the aged leader of North
Carolina Lutherans, was elected the ministerial delegate to the October
1821 General Synod meeting with Schober as first alternate in case
infirmity prevented Storch from attending. Gottlieb did represent North
Carolina and supported the major accomplishments of the synod with
Plans were begun for the founding of a seminary and for composing
an English catechism for the training of youth. Schober was appointed to
a committee to work on the latter task, which was completed in 1823
when the recommendation was made to "retain Luther's Catechism for
the present, and to report an improved translation of the questions . . .
with explanatory additions on the decalogue, infant baptism and the
eucharist. . . ," 29 The 1823 General Synod was almost the last. Problems
had begun to emerge; some synods feared a loss of autonomy while others
were so rationalistic as to depreciate any denominational concept. Samuel
S. Schmucker emerged as the principal proponent of the synod, with
Schober giving strong support. Obviously the synod needed a cause
around which to rally and survive. That cause materialized in 1825 when
the first Lutheran seminary in America was founded, opening its doors
the following year with Samuel Schmucker as professor and president.
Gottlieb Schober was president of the General Synod in that historic
session and was immediately named to the seminary's Board of Directors.
It was indeed appropriate that Schober's lifelong dedication to education
should be capped by this development. Some years later he gave the
institution 2,200 acres of land in Surry County, although it cannot be
ascertained whether the seminary benefited from the gift. 30
The new seminary removed another continuing problem. The synod
that in this Seminary shall be taught, in the German and English languages,
the fundamental doctrines of the Sacred Scriptures as contained in the
Augsburg Confession. 31
28 A balanced treatment of the origin and development of the General Synod is Robert
Fortenbaugh, The Development of the Synodical Polity of the Lutheran Church in
America, to 1829 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1926).
29 Schmucker, The American Lutheran Church, p. 228.
30 Among Schobers' estate papers, there is a tax listing for 1835 showing the Lutheran
Seminary as owner of the land. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
31 Minutes of the General Synod, 1825, quoted in Schmucker, American Lutheran
Church, p. 229.
204 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Here was the victory that moderates like Schober had advocated in 1819
when the plan for a General Synod was developed. Here was the means to
combat the syncretistic liberalism which would discard all the historic
symbols of Lutheranism. At the same time the priority of Scripture over
the Confession was established to disarm those who wished to make the
Confession the final word. This seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,
would in years to come provide American Lutherans with a trained native
ministry, committed to a solid doctrinal foundation. In 1829 the General
Synod removed all doubt of theological foundation when it declared that
Whilst the grand doctrines of the Reformation are absolutely insisted on,
every minister and layman should have full liberty to approach the study of
his Bible untrammeled by the shackles of human creeds. The General Synod
therefore only requires of those who are attached to her connexion, that they
hold the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, as taught in the Augsburg
Confession, and in all minor points leaves them unrestricted. 32
Schober consistently supported the work of the synod until the end of his
ministry. He attended every session of the body until age and infirmity
prevented his travel.
The excitement of ecumenical ideas that gripped the North Carolina
Synod of 182 1 was not confined to cooperation among Lutherans. Robert
J. Miller, long a faithful minister in the Lutheran fellowship, asked to be
released to return to his native Episcopal Church now that it was more
firmly established in the state. At the same time he, along with three
official delegates of the Episcopal Church, inquired about a possible closer
relationship between the two groups. Adam Empie, a Wilmington minis-
ter and one of the delegates, wrote to Miller:
We pray that both sides may manifest a most conciliatory spirit that has
nothing in view but the salvation of souls the prosperity of religion & the
glory of God. As for our part we are determined to yield every thing we can in
consistency with our consciences our ordination vows the established rules
of our Church & the consequent duties that we owe to the Laity to which we
The Lutherans were receptive to the overture. A committee consi-
dered the matter and recommended that it would be advantageous and
desirable for the two bodies to "be united in a bond of closest friendship."
32 Minutes of General Synod, 1829, p. 15, quoted in Schmucker, American Lutheran
Church, p. 232.
33 A. Empie to R.J. Miller, Hillsborough, 4 May 1821. Printed inD. L. Corbitt,ed.,"The
Robert J. Miller Letters," North Carolina Historical Review, (25 October 1948), p. 504.
Controversy with the Henkels • 205
Each body should send representatives to the meetings of the other, with
rights of debate and vote, except in decisions affecting only one of the
groups. The Episcopalians promised that Lutheran students of theology
who came well recommended would receive free instruction at the New
Haven seminary. 34 The 1822 Synod heard a letter saying that the Episco-
palian convention had ratified the agreement of cooperation. Schober
was one of several Lutheran delegates sent to the Episcopal meeting in
1823, and the Lutheran synod in turn seated Robert Davis, an Episcopa-
lian minister, with full voting rights.
By 1825, however, the cooperative arrangement hit a snag. Schober
evidently shared details of this ecumenical venture with some of his
Lutheran colleagues in New York. Bishop Ravenscroft in Raleigh soon
heard of Schober's action and felt that he misrepresented the relationship
between Lutherans and Episcopalians. Schober had evidently indicated
that the initiative in the matter came from the Episcopalians. Adam
Empie, who earlier had been ready to make great compromises, now
counseled Robert J. Miller to disavow Schober's account without, how-
ever, offending him or implying that Schober had intended to misstate
the facts. 35 Miller's reaction to this request is not known. It was possible
that Schober did in fact initiate the discussion of cooperation when his
close friend and colleague decided to return to the Episcopal Church. But
the extant records indicate that the first delegates to visit another reli-
gious body were the Episcopalians in 1821. Whatever the case, the
cooperative venture was not mentioned again in synod proceedings.
While most of Schober's time was taken in Lutheran affairs, the
livelihood of his family was still earned in Salem. The focus of attention
for Gottlieb in this period was the paper mill. The mill was still a
profitable venture in itself since the business had been blessed with good
managers in recent years. Moreover, the business enabled Schober to
maintain a profitable traffic in goods which he sold and traded for rags.
Beginning in 1816, the possibility of Schober purchasing the land asso-
ciated with the mill — which he only leased on an annual basis — was
introduced. Salem officials were uncertain of the consequences for the
community, since the total tract including mill pond and its watershed
34 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1821, pp. 10-11.
"A. Empie to Rev'd R.J. Miller, Wilmington (N.C.) 8 March 1825, and 31 May 1825
in Corbitt, "The Robert J. Miller Letters," p. 502, p. 504.
206 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
amounted to over 150 acres. By this time other Wachovia land outside
Salem was being sold to Moravians on a very careful basis; no sale was to
interrupt the nature of the community and particularly the community
business enterprises. Officials were afraid that if Schober owned the land
outright, he might begin other business affairs which would injure the
Salem economy. By 1817, the deal appeared probable, but suddenly the
matter was dropped when a mutually agreeable price was not reached.
Three years later, the Board asked $5 per acre, but at that price Schober
was willing to purchase only the thirty-three acres around the very
important springs which fed the mill pond and provided the pure water
needed for paper manufacture. The Overseers thought this a bad arrange-
ment and preferred either to sell the whole tract or continue to rent it. 36
The frustrations persisted for both sides so that by early 1824
The Brethren of the Collegium are going to inspect the paper mill tract and
take into consideration whether it is more profitable to sell the land at a low
price rather than have constant discord and trouble on account of the lease. 37
They decided to lower the price to $3 per acre for 172 acres of land
which Schober had been renting; but he was willing to pay only $2.50.
Moreover, this still did not include the vital springs, and for this new land
the Collegium insisted on $5. Emmanual believed that this price was the
best possible and must have convinced his father because the purchase
was completed later that year: 158 acres at $3 and 22.5 at S5. 38 Emmanuel
was convinced that more than land was needed to make the mill truly
profitable. He wrote Thomas Bartholomew:
I find great difficulty in carying on paper making in the old way, and I feel
more and more inclined to introduce the Machine. . . . Coleman Sellers &
Sons of Philadelphia. . .advise us to have a machine with Iron rolls and frame
more durable and less liable to get out of repair . . . [would cost] $ 1 100 — one
made on the same plan with wooden rolls they would charge $900 —
machines on wooden frames from 5 to 700 Dollars. 39
And, continued Emmanuel, the arrangement of the mill would need to be
changed to accomodate new machinery to best advantage. He described
36 For stages in these negotiations, see Board of Overseers, 13January, 28 July 1817; 22
January, 24 September 1821, Moravian Archives.
37 Board of Overseers, 26 January 1824, Moravian Archives.
38 Congregation Council, 6 May 1824, Moravian Archives.
39 Emmanual Schober to Thomas Bartholomew, Salem, 27 June 1 824, Schober Papers,
Old Salem Archives.
Controversy with the Henkels • 207
the mill and the size of the pond providing power, and then asked
Bartholomew's advice on the cost of a total conversion of the mill to
modern equipment. If that is too expensive,
I would sell my establishment — the Mill House with the basement story is 3
stories high — basement story of rock. The other two stories of [??? illeg.] &
conveniently arranged stone dam — & two hundred & fifty acres of land
attached to it — with abt. 20 or 30,000 lbs. of rags on hand — with a mechanic
or a man to manage it would be something new in this county — and a great
deal of money could be made at it — suppen you buy me out & bring a
machine along — I would take $5000 including the stock of rags — or try to
sell it for me — or if I cannot sell and a man would undertake to put up a
complete machine — I would give him the whole establishment for any time
that might be reasonable to pay for the Machine. . . . 40
Bartholomew's response was not encouraging. His price for used but
satisfactory equipment was also over $1,000 — a capital outlay which the
Schobers felt was prohibitive. Emmanuel continued to correspond with
individuals regarding the needed retooling, but no significant investment
was made. By 1830 selling the mill was again considered and almost
consummated. In 1836 the establishment passed into the hands of
another Salem resident, Christian Blum. Over the years it had been the
chief producer of Schober's income. But now it was rapidly becoming a
According to tax lists for the years 1824 and 1827, Gottlieb had
attained a comfortable estate. He listed a house in Salem, a store, 3,210
acres of land and five taxable slaves. The paper mill does not appear and
probably was listed by Emmanuel. Even the tax lists revealed only a part
of Gottlieb's total assets. In 1828, Salem renovated the water works for
about $ 1 ,500; the Overseers approved " that one thousand dollars shall be
borrowed from Br. Gottlieb Schober for five years at 5 per cent for the
water-works." 41 At his death, Schober's estate amounted to $3 1,720. 68. 42
The heirs were rather surprised that the amount was so small. Peter
Wolle explained the discrepancy when he wrote to Emmanuel: "We in-
deed have reason to lament that so great a portion of our inheritance has
41 Board of Overseers, 22 January 1828, Fries and others, Records of Moravians,
42 Estate Papers of Gottlieb Schober, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North
208 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
been lost through Biddle and Company. . . ," 43 The financial panic of 1837
weakened the United States Bank of Philadelphia whose president was
Nicolas Biddle. Schober evidently had significant deposits or was a share-
holder in the institution. In 1839, the bank closed and, after trying to re-
sume business in 1841, declared bankruptcy. 44 Both depositors and stock-
holders lost heavily.
Family matters during the early 1820s contained both joy and sorrow.
The gain of strong sons-in-law in Peter Wolle and Johann Herman was
offset by the loss of a daughter, Johanna Sophia Zevely. "Hannah" died
quite unexpectedly on 18 November 1821, leaving her husband Vaniman
with four young children.
Emmanuel, Gottlieb's only surviving son, had by the early 1820s
begun to assume leadership within the family and community. He lived in
the Single Brothers' House until the latter closed as a residence in 1823, 45
then bought a small house. 46 He was elected to the Board of Overseers in
1823, but seemed to miss many of the meetings. He spent a good deal of
time in Germanton, seat of the county court, where he was likely pursuing
the practice of law, although permission for such a vocation had not
officially been granted by the Brethren. He was again elected to the North
Carolina Senate in 1824, once more following the footsteps of his father,
and served a total of six terms in that legislative body. In early 1826 Anna
Hanes, 47 a single sister from the Hope community, became Emmanuels
bride and came to Salem to live in the little house on the square.
Anna Paulina Herman moved with her husband from Newport,
Rhode Island, to his new pastoral charge in Philadelphia in 1823 and then
to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1826. Maria Wolle served with her hus-
43 Peter Wolle to Emmanual Schober, Lititz, 16 August 1843, Schober Papers, Old
Salem Inc. Archives.
"Hammond, Banks and Politics in America, p. 518.
45 The Single Brothers' Treasury (Ger. Diacony) had been in trouble for a number of
years. In addition, control of the young men became increasingly difficult. A series of
events which disturbed the congregation's sense of decorum led to the decision to
discontinue the House as a communal establishment in 1823. Board of Overseers, 18
November 1822; 27 May, 6 June 1823, Moravian Archives.
46 The house was built in 1 774 by Christian Triebel and stood on modern lot n60 on the
corner between the Single Brothers' House and the Miksch house.
47 Anna Hanes, was born in Rowan County, on 10 January 1799 to Philip and Hannah
Hanes, members of the Hope congregation. Anna studied about a year in the Girls'
Boarding School of Salem before marrying Emmanual in March 1826.
Controversy with the Henkels • 209
band, Peter, in Bethania for three years. In 1823, they were called to serve
the congregation in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; three years later they
moved to Lititz.
Thus the house on the southeast corner of Salem square became
quieter as the years passed. Hedwig, one of the younger daughters, was in
her twenties. After her formal schooling, she returned home to care for
her parents in their declining years. Of course, the children of deceased
Nathaniel and Hannah lived close by and without doubt frequently
enlivened the home of their grandparents. Events in Salem swept on
apace, seeming faster and faster to Gottlieb as his own gait began to slow.
More and more frequently he was forced to ask others to preach in his
stead. In 1824 a young man named Williamjenkins, just beginning in the
Lutheran ministry, became Schober's assistant, "gaining unusual appro-
val in the places where he preaches." 48 But the old man was not finished
48 Bethania Diary, 18 July 1824, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 8:3725.
Salem Moravian Church, consecrated in 1800
(drawn about 1857 by N. S. Siewers)
in Sunday Schools
'uringthe period of Schober's leadership of the North Caro-
lina Lutheran Synod, he also achieved his greatest effectiveness as a
pastor. For twenty years he served Nazareth, Shiloh, Hopewell, and
Bethlehem churches (1810-1830) 1 and New Jerusalem from 1815 to
1821. He supplied at various times in the congregations of Pilgrim, St.
Luke's, and Beck's, all south of Salem in Davidson County. From his
regular churches Schober reported fourteen children baptized in 1822,
ten in 1823, and thirteen in 1824. The following year he indicated fifteen
children and three adults baptized, twenty-two confirmations, 150 com-
municants, and one funeral. 2
By far his most significant contribution for the laypersons in North
Carolina was his ever increasing support of the Sunday school. Schober's
initial sponsorship of this institution in the state was related in Chapter
'Nazareth was located north of Salem near Germanton, also first called Beaver Dam
Church. Shiloh was ten miles west of Salem near Lewisville, first named Muddy Creek
Church. Hopewell was southeast of Salem near the home of Henry Ripple and was often
identified as Ripple's Church. Bethlehem was east of Salem and north of later Walker-
town. New Jerusalem was west of Salem on the road connecting Salisbury and Mocksville,
also called Dutchman's Creek and later Reformation.
Statistics drawn from Lutheran Synod minutes of the years cited.
212 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Ten. Sunday schools immediately assumed an important role in educating
children and adults of the backcountry. In 1824 the American Sunday
School Union was founded in Philadelphia under the principle that the
Sunday school was
eminently adapted to promote the intellectual and moral culture of the na-
tion, to perpetuate our republican and religious institutions, and to reconcile
eminent national prosperity with moral purity and future blessedness. 3
From the beginning the Union's strategy was "to ignore, whenever
possible, doctrinal and political differences; to be antiseptically undenom-
inational in purpose and practice." The evangelicals were counseled "to
leave their 'distinctive pecularities out of sight and out of mind.' " 4 With
such a perspective Schober's enthusiastic support could be anticipated.
The interest of the national organization was felt in Wachovia when in
1826 a Reverend Witherspoon, a minister from Hillsborough, visited
Salem to encourage the further growth of the schools. 5 The movement
immediately gathered momentum in the rural churches of both Moravi-
ans and Lutherans. The school at Friedland was typical:
there is continued interest in the Sunday School begun last spring. On the
9th and 30th of this month small books were given to the children, to
encourage them to still more industry. It is pleasant to see about seventy
children gather each Sunday. They show a real eagerness to learn. Several of
the larger pupils in one week have memorized forty or fifty verses from the
New Testament, several short Psalms, two verses from the Hymn Book, and
a page from the short Outline of the Teaching of Jesus, and can repeat them
one after another almost without mistake. We have the names of seventy-
seven scholars, and it is seldom that more than eight or ten are absent. The
school is opened in the morning at nine o'clock with song and prayer, and
lasts until nearly eleven o'clock. Then comes preaching, and usually another
meeting. In the afternoon at one o'clock the school begins again, lasting
usually until four, but sometimes we are not through until the sixth hour.
Several suitable stanzas are sung in closing. 6
For the youngest children, the Sunday schools were primarily reading
schools, beginning with books on the ABC's. More advanced students, as
shown above, memorized texts from the Bible. For attendance and
memory work, students were given reward "tickets" which were accumu-
3 Resolution of the American Sunday School Union, 1828, quoted in Robert W. Lynn
and Elliott Wright, The Big Little School (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), p. 1.
4 American Sunday School Union, 1832, Quoted in Lynn and Wright, Big Little School,
5 Salem Diary, 15 April 1826, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 8:3769-
6 Salem Diary, 30 July 1826, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 8:3770.
Teaching Them in Sunday Schools • 213
lated to be exchanged ultimately for books or maybe even a Testament.
Study books were available in both English and German; these began
with drills on the alphabet and advanced to simple religious stories, then
to more complex prayers for children. 7 In addition, most good schools had
a circulating library, the only source for such materials in many rural
locations. In 1859, of the 50,000 libraries in the United States, 30,000 of
them were in Sunday schools. 8
The initial enthusiasm was sustained by the founding in 1826 of the
"Stokes County Sunday School Union" by the visiting Witherspoon and
Gottlieb Schober, newly appointed agent of the national body. Thirty-two
subscribers paid annual dues of fifty cents or ten dollars for life member-
ship. Schober traveled throughout the county and adjoining areas, advo-
cating this method of bringing education and moral training to children
who might otherwise never learn even to read. The results were phenom-
enal. By December, the Friedberg school had eighty-one students, and the
next summer the number rose to 154. Even in Salem, where some Elders
voiced doubts about the enthusiasm generated by the movement, the
single sisters started a school "where on Sunday afternoon the younger
Sisters and older girls who desire to improve in reading and writing are
given free instruction. . . ." 9 Other schools were founded in the vicinity at
places called Brushy Fork, Pleasant Hill, Pfafftown, Friendship, Mt.
Vernon, Spanish Grove, and Hope. The Hope Sunday School Journal
indicated in 1829 that
The Number of enrolled scholars was 39- Classes were regularly arranged,
consisting of two reading classes with both divisions [probably male and
female], two spelling both divisions and two alphabetic primers. All was
harmony and love and the spirit of God reigned. Tickets given out in the
reading classes: male 13, female 24. 144 verses recited. May the content
thereof be imprinted on their hearts. 10
While Sunday schools were easy to begin, they were difficult to
maintain. Many operated only during the warmer months, and therefore
7 Erstes Lesebuch fur Kinder, (New York: AmerikanischenTractat: Gesellschaft, n.d.)
A copy of this book once belonging to "Heinrich Wolf" was discovered by this author near
Winston-Salem. In the Moravian Archives there is a copy of The Christian Pilgrim
published by the Sunday and Adult School Union in 1823.
8 Lynn and Wright, The Big Little School, p. 31.
'Memorabilia, 1828, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 8:3833.
10 Daybook for the Hope Sunday School, Stokes County, North Carolina, 15 March
1829, Moravian Archives.
214 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
interest had to be regenerated each spring. As president of the local
union, Schober continued to visit the established schools, sometimes
preaching an afternoon sermon as well. As an aid to continuity, the
celebration of the anniversary of each school was initiated. The largest of
these events was the anniversary of the Union itself. In 1829 the first
anniversary brought five hundred scholars plus two to three hundred
parents and teachers to Salem. Schober spoke to the group, describing
"the beginning of Sunday schools in England, in Europe, and in other
parts of the world; including this neighborhood." 11
It was a pleasant sight to see so many young people from our neighborhood,
who through the Sunday Schools not only have an opportunity to learn to
read, but also to become acquainted with the word of God. 12
The following year 1200 students marched in the parade down the streets
of Salem. 13 It was a triumphant moment in the life of seventy-four-year-
old Gottlieb to step in a lively manner at the head of such a procession.
But such enthusiasm could not be sustained. By late 183 1 Schober wrote to
the secretary of the national organization:
I wish I could report to your board a lively continuance of the Sunday schools
in this County, but it appears as if 6 or 7 are dying out for want of Life in the
Teachers. ... I visit the schools as your Agent as often as possible, and
generally preach on the Subject . . . [and] enter into friendly discourses and
explain the Lessons to the Little ones who all love me perhaps because I
generally give to each reader a Tract — and scripture pictures to the little
Schober further indicated that some religious groups, specifically the
Methodists and Baptists, opposed the Sunday school movement. The
Methodists attempt "only to effect conversion without imparting neces-
sary knowledge," while the Baptists "are against instructing children,
saying they can not become Christians before they are ripe & bap-
tized. . . ." 15 Although the initial enthusiasm of the movement waned in
"Salem Diary, 29 March 1829, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians , 8
12 Salem Diary, 29 March 1829, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians , 8:3870.
13 Salem Diary, 28 March 1830, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 8:3915.
'^Manuscript addressed to Secretary of American Sunday School Union, 2 1 November
1831. Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
Teaching Them in Sunday Schools • 215
the late 1830s, it did not die. Many children were taught to read in the in-
stitution and had continuing access to the circulating libraries. Schober
made provisions in his will for every school in Stokes County to receive
$10 from his estate to buy books. At that time ten dollars would buy a set
of 100 volumes from the national organization. 16 It was a legacy of which
he could be proud.
In addition to his activity for Sunday schools, Schober continued his
other pastoral work. He was still preaching with vigor in his churches and
in several Moravian congregations. In October 1827, he preached for the
first time in Salem "and spoke in an edifying manner." 17 He continued to
preside over the synods of North Carolina Lutherans, and in 1827
presented an English translation of extracts from Luther's sermons
printed in a German book entitled Kirchen Postille. He sought simply to
explain clearly Luther's doctrines in a manner which could be understood
by the laity. The translation was examined for accuracy, approved, and
printed with the synod minutes. That same year, however, Lutheran
congregations asked that a younger man be appointed to assist Schober
who "is disabled by old age and infirmity." 18 The following year Schober
wrote to Samuel Schmucker at the new seminary in Gettysburg asking for
a young minister to be sent to North Carolina. He preached the synod
sermon in 1828 "to an immense crowd of attentive hearers," 19 but his
sermon at the 1829 ordination of two young ministers was delivered "in a
very pathetic and nervous manner." Even though the body was weaken-
ing, the mind was still clear. The ideas of that ordination message were
appropriate and well developed. In concluding his sermon, however,
as an encouragement to pious ministers, he described in glowing colours, the
unspeakable reward promised, the crown of righteousness, the inheritance
that is incorruptible and unfading, and the eternal weight of glory that will
be bestowed on all the faithful labourers in the Lord's vineyard. 20
With an eye on the hereafter and increasingly aware of his advancing
age, Schober began to divest himself of responsibilities. He resigned from
16 Lynn and Wright, The Big Little School, p. 31.
17 Salem Diary, 7 October 1827, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 8:3801.
18 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1827, p. 8.
19 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1828, p. 2.
20 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1829, p. 15.
216 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
three of his churches in 1829, promising only to preach occasionally and
to administer the Lord's Supper whenever possible. David Rosenmiller, a
young minister, arrived in 1830 from the Gettysburg Seminary and
assumed these charges. Gottlieb retained one congregation, Hopewell,
and was again honored by election as synod president in 1830 and 1831.
The latter year he reported six baptisms, eight confirmations, thirty
communicants, and a Sunday school of forty children. Still he traveled
"every Sunday if the weather is fair," although in a carriage and only eight
or ten miles from Salem. 21 In 1832 Schober was excused from synod "on
account of age and increasing infirmity." 22 Indeed, there was a new
generation of Lutherans: "The Rev'd Father Schober [was] requested to
translate [the synod minutes] into the German. . . ." 23 Schober made his
final synod appearance in 1835 when the seventy-nine year old patriarch
preached his farewell sermon on the text: "Brethren, the grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ be with your Spirit." 24
Even as Gottlieb's Lutheran affairs gradually diminished, so also his
name appeared with less frequency in Salem records. There was, how-
ever, one thorn which continued to prick the old man even though his
income was quite comfortable for his needs. Because the suffocation of
personal initiative inherent in Salem's closed economic system was not
consistent with ideals of the new nation, more and more citizens came to
believe that the system was ultimately self-defeating. Schober in both
word and deed had consistently advocated more individual freedom, and
when debate on fundamental economic changes began, he was, as usual,
squarely in the middle.
The central issue was whether to allow any competition in the
mercantile trade, the most consistently profitable enterprise in Salem and
from the beginning one of the communal businesses. A direct challenge
was, of course, impossible under the circumstances; it was erosion at the
edges which began to hurt. In 1825, David Clewell asked to become a
master bookbinder in Salem. Several individuals, including Gottlieb
Schober, wondered whether a living could be made at that trade in Salem.
Besides, stationery and bound blank books were already for sale in town.
"Report to American Sunday School Union. Manuscript dated 21 November 1831,
Schober Papers, Old Salem Inc. Archives.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1832, p. 2.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1832, p. 8.
"Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1835, p. 5.
Teaching Them in Sunday Schools • 217
Brother Schober has presented his problem in the framework of our com-
munity regulations. However, we wish very much that he himself would also
note his limits and not have other articles for sale which have been reserved
for the store solely and which do not fit into his line of trade at all. It is true
that Pastor Schober has permission to keep store goods for his rag trade,
wherefore Br. Rights and Schulz are going to look through the old minutes
and find out how far this privilege extends. 25
Despite potential problems, Clewell's request was approved, and
Gottlieb promised to stay within his trade. Matters were quiet for about
three years but then came a letter from Schober to the Overseers accusing
Clewell of "collecting rags in the community and its neighborhood and
sending them to Pennsylvania and this infringing upon [Schober's]
business." Instead of supporting Gottlieb, the Overseers advised "that he
too should offer money for rags. We cannot force people to accept those
compensations for rags that Pastor Schober offers." 26 It was obvious that
the freedom of competition that Schober had long sought, now worked
against him. Some of his profit was made in the barter of articles which he
bought wholesale and traded at retail values. To pay cash for rags hurt
profits. Schober's reaction was predictable and not particularly a compli-
ment to his character. He protested bitterly of Clewell's violations of
regulations. The vehemence of Schober's attack also showed his advanc-
ing age, "arousing deep pity" in the Elder's Conference. In light of
Gottlieb's "distressed state of mind" the Elders felt constrained to talk
with him quietly rather than exchange letters. 27 But the fundamental
issue was forced into the open. Less than sixty days after Schober's initial
outburst, the Overseers were discussing the possibility of a second store
or opening up the trade to limited competition. Gottlieb was not the only
Salem citizen who was pushing the regulations to the limit and beyond:
Upon consideration of the small private dealings which are being made in
the community, the Collegium decided to have a private talk with all those
brethren concerned by it and point out to them the great advantage which
they all enjoy through the Community Treasury, which they seem to forget.
Accordingly, H. Blum and E. Schober are going to talk to Pastor Schober,
Herbst and Benzien to Br. [Will] Fries, Thomas Schulz and J.J. Blum to the
milliners in the Sister's House, and Thomas Schulz and Benzien to David
Clewell. We doubt the general success of these talks. 28
"Board of Overseers, 11 July 1825, Moravian Archives.
26 Board of Overseers, 26 November 1828, Moravian Archives.
"Elder's Conference, 12 November 1828, Moravian Archives.
28 Board of Overseers, 26 January 1829, Moravian Archives.
218 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
As expected, the conversations were of little value. Schober would
agree to limit his trade only if Clewell was also restricted. But the
Overseers would not agree because "Schober's paper is inferior in quality
to that of Clewell and he is not willing to pay as much for rags as does
David Clewell." We believe, they concluded, that "this should stimulate
Pastor Schober to supply us with better paper." 29 Yet the Overseers
recognized that the real issue was the monopoly system itself. And only
the people themselves could finally decide that matter. A meeting of all
adult members was planned at which the advantages of the system, such
as the providing of necessary community services through the profits of
community enterprises, would be presented. There would follow an open
a secret vote can be taken determining whether the public is willing to check
the mentioned encroachments according to the old tradition and if this
restraint should not be found possible, what practicable answers are to be
taken which would enjoy the active support of the people of the
This statement revealed the realism and insight of the Board. The
system could not be maintained by sanctions; only voluntary cooperation
would prohibit violators from making a profit and continuing to do
business. Several community meetings were held, but the issue was too
complicated. The livelihoods of many people would be affected regardless
of the decision. Some wanted complete abolition of monopolies, others
preferred private stores paying "recognition fees" to the treasury, and
still others advocated a second community store simply to provide com-
petition for the benefit of citizens without a loss of profits for the
By August, no solution had been reached, although several Brothers
volunteered to open a private store, or manage a second store for the
Community Treasury. Desperately the Overseers tried to hold on to the
old ideals, while individuals measured the actions of others against the
rules and found them wanting. 31 To abolish all monopolies meant higher
congregation dues, i.e. taxes, but to keep the old ways and tolerate the
violations meant that community enterprises would likely lose profits.
29 Board of Overseers, 9 February 1829, Moravian Archives.
}0 Board of Overseers, 23 February 1829, Moravian Archives.
31 Board of Overseers, 7 September 1829, Moravian Archives.
Teaching Them in Sunday Schools • 219
The Congregation Council finally decided that a second store operated by
the Community was the best solution. 32 But it took another year to
convince the Overseers that this was really the best step. Then within a
few months Will Fries and Christian Blum requested to sell small items
such as molasses, sugar, coffee, paint, nails, glass, stationery, and books.
Inquiry had been made of Pastor Schober, who has had stationery for sale for
some time, and he says that if J. Chr. Blum is granted permission to sell the
various articles mentioned, he would have to expand his trade along other
lines also, especially since Br. Clewell, the bookbinder has paper and blank
books for sale. It was evident that if Brother J. Christian Blum were to have
permission to sell all the various articles connected with book-printing, one
could not refuse other trades equal privileges. It would be so with Brother
Fries, if, in addition to the articles released for the Toy Shop and his tobacco
business, we should permit him to carry other articles for sale. Thus, on all
sides, there would be infringements into the privileges of others and those of
the Congregation Diacony stores which in these times of straitened liveli-
hood would be ruined, as well as our Diacony system for the good of the
whole congregation. . . , 33
Despite this decision, the opening of a second store was the beginning
of the end of the monopoly. In 1833, one store reported annual profit of
$2.69 and the other a loss of $1,105. According to the Elders, Salem
residents were not patronizing their own establishments, preferring the
lower prices of several new stores recently opened in Salem's vicinity.
Managers were changed, and profits began to pick up only to have the
financial slump of 1837 cause another deficit of $1,135. The governing
boards finally studied the long-term profit record of the store and found
that the average annual profit from 1817-1827 was $792, while the years
1827-1837 averaged an annual loss of $132. 34 The stores were imme-
diately offered for sale. Although the total monopoly system was not
abolished for another decade, its effectiveness was compromised so that
the arrangement was moribund. By that time Schober and others who had
chafed under the system were dead, but the spirit which they had embod-
ied was very much alive.
After 1831 the days of feuding were over for Gottlieb. He could afford
for others to assume positions of leadership and influence, particularly
32 Congregation Council, 8 October 1829, Moravian Archives.
,3 Board of Overseers, 28 November 1831, Moravian Archives. Part of quotation in
Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 8:3994-95.
34 Board of Overseers, 31 July 1837; Elder's Conference, 2 August 1837, Moravian
220 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
since some of them were his own flesh and blood. Emmanuel was heavily
involved as a local attorney and was also serving on the Board of Over-
seers. As Captain of the Salem Light Infantry Company he was responsi-
ble for defending the town in emergency. When sickness forced Gottlieb
to relinquish the office of Postmaster, Emmanuel also assumed that task.
Peter and Maria Wolle were still in Pennsylvania where they served the
Philadelphia congregation. On a visit to Salem in 1832, Peter preached
for the Sunday School Anniversary in Gottlieb's stead. Johann and Pau-
lina Herman came in 1834, bringing three daughters whom the grand-
parents had never seen. Both of these sons-in-law would in later years be
named bishops in the Unity and assume positions of leadership in both
Europe and America. Hedwig was still at home and had assumed a special
place in her parents' hearts for her unselfish assistance in these latter
years. Thus Gottlieb and Maria could reflect with pride upon their family.
In turn the children and grandchildren honored them on a special occa-
sion in 1832.
On December 17 the 50th wedding anniversary of Br. Gottlieb and Sr. Maria
Magdalena Schober was observed, attended by children and children's child-
ren and many friends. A lovefeast was held to which the Married People,
Widows, and Widowers Choirs and relatives in the other choirs were
Maria Schober had never involved herself in community affairs at levels
of leadership. Yet her faithfulness was well known and respected by all
who knew her. She certainly had a mind of her own and disagreed on
occasion with her outspoken husband. All evidence would indicate a
happy relationship which was only broken by Maria's death on 13 June
1835, only five days before her seventy-seventh birthday. Although
Gottlieb lived for another three years, there is no record of public activity.
According to his memoir, these last quiet years were spent preparing for
He concerned himself much with his homegoing and spoke of his hope of
eternal life. In such speech he often declared himself very sinful and placed
his trust simply on the redemptive power of Jesus. 36
Shortly before the end, he told a visiting friend: "When you hear that I
am gone, know that I have gone to the Saviour." In June 1838, a conta-
35 Salem Diary, 17 December 1832, Moravian Archives.
36 Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives.
Teaching Them in Sunday Schools • 221
gious fever swept through Salem, touching both young and old. The
children were able to withstand illness without lingering effects, but it
weakened several of the older people like Gottlieb.
On the night of the 28th he was only slightly conscious and remained
completely unconscious on the following day. After he had slept through one
more night it was evident on the morning of the 29th that the Lord had
given him the sign.
It happened to him then according to his urgent prayer and under a feeling of
the nearness of God who gave a blessing to his homegoing. Shortly when
again the death watch was held at his bed, his breath stopped at 10 AM
almost unnoticed. He went to sleep in an exceptionally gentle way after a
pilgrimage of 81 years, seven months, and twenty-eight days. 37
On 1 July a large congregation gathered to pay final respect to
Gottlieb Schober. The Salem minister, William H. Van Vleck, spoke first
in German, then in English on the text from Revelation 22:3. 38 Referring
to the New Jerusalem, the passage states: "And there shall be no more
curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his
servants shall serve him: . . ." He was buried in God's Acre.
When the Lutheran synod next met, the president acknowledged
simply and truthfully:
His life was spent in untired activity and useful labors until old age admon-
ished him to seek retirement. The Church, the benevolent societies, espe-
cially the Education and Sunday School cause, all have lost a liberal and
efficient member and patron. May his memory long be cherished and
respected among us, and his exemplary activity and liberality be imitiated. 39
"Memoir of Gottlieb Schober, Moravian Archives.
38 Salem Diary, 1 July 1838, Fries and Others, Records of Moravians, 9:4389.
39 Lutheran Synod Minutes, 1839, President's address, appendix, p. 1.
To serve God simply means to do what God has commanded and not to do
what God has forbidden. And if only we would accustom ourselves properly
to this view, the entire world would be full of service to God, not only the
churches but also the home, the kitchen, the cellar, the workshop, and the
field of townsfolk and farmers. For it is certain that God would have not only
the church and world order but also the house order established and upheld.
All, therefore, who serve the latter purpose . . . are jointly serving God; for so
He wills and commands.
In this way a man could be happy and of good cheer in all his trouble and la-
bor; and if he accustomed himself to look at his service and calling in this
way, nothing would be distasteful to him. 1
These words could have been written by Gottlieb Schober; they were
in fact contained in a sermon by Martin Luther in 1532. Just as Luther
believed that vocations practiced in faith were as surely God's call as any
minister who celebrated Holy Communion, so Schober tried to embody
that idea in living. He possessed from his early years a vision of disciple-
ship. Even though that vision changed and matured in later life, the
essence remained the same: to serve God.
•Ewald M. Plass, comp. What Luther Says: An Anthology (St. Louis, Missouri:
Concordia Publishing House, 1959), 2:560.
224 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Frustrated in his early aspiration for service in the church, and
unwilling to forsake the security of Salem for the risks of secular society,
young Schober took the only true opportunity he had. He used his talents
to achieve financial security. Success reenforced his sense of call, and,
when no longer forced to occupy his mind and hands with a livelihood for
himself and his family, he readily turned those same talents to the service
of the church. First he became an attorney, handling Moravian legal
affairs and problems without compensation. Gradually, however, Gott-
lieb became dissatisfied with the manner in which Salem was adminis-
tered. Too many leaders lacked vision, he believed, and were unwilling to
accept the challenges of social and economic change which would main-
tain Salem's viability as a community. Too often they relied upon a formal
utilization of the lot, subordinating other concepts of divine leadership.
While Schober's criticisms may appear harsh, two things should be
remembered. First, Gottlieb was committed without reservation to the
principles upon which the Unity was established, and therefore his
criticisms, right or wrong, were intended in a constructive manner.
Secondly, the early nineteenth century was a difficult period for the
Moravian Church in general and weaknesses in individual congregations
should not be surprising. Two respected Moravian historians, J. Taylor
Hamilton and Kenneth G. Hamilton, describe 1801-1857 as "Years of
Decline and Renewal.'' Early in that period, "those in office . . . tended to
regard change with disfavor and to fear any attempt to introduce innova-
tions as revolutionary." 2 The groundwork for Moravian renewal was laid
in the Unity Synod of 1848 and completed in the Synod of 1857 when the
principles of decentralized government were adopted. 3 This principle
was at the heart of Schober's criticism. More local authority would
improve the ability of individual congregations to meet local needs
without compromising vital concepts. After 1857, the Moravian Church
began to assume its modern form. 4 It is appropriately symbolic that
presiding over the Unity Synod of 1848 as it laid the foundation of
Moravian renewal was Bishop John G. Herman, son-in-law of Gottlieb
Schober and husband of Anna Paulina.
2 Hamilton and Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church, p. 176.
'Hamilton and Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church, pp. 184-85, pp. 316-17.
4 Hamilton and Hamilton, History of the Moravian Church, 3 1 5ff .
A Vision of Disciple ship • 225
Perhaps Schober's frustration was a factor in his acceptance of ordina-
tion from Lutheran ministers in 1810 and his attempt to fulfill his
expression of service to God within that communion. He served as a
pastor to humble folk, but more importantly his vision of the Church of
Christ matured into an unusually perceptive concept. His ecumenism was
not unique even in his own time and certainly its roots were deep in his
Moravian heritage, but few of his day advocated Christian unity and
cooperation so forthrightly and worked so diligently for the realization of
those goals. Equally important, Schober preached that an ignorant minis-
try and laity limited God's ability to accomplish his goals with mankind.
Seminaries and Sunday schools could change that and hasten the time
when the Kingdom of God would be a reality.
Schober's efforts to live fully his Christian life and calling did not
mean that he was without faults. The recognition of his own failings as he
approached death was not empty rhetoric. He knew that his temper was
uncontrollable at times. He knew that his words and actions had hurt
people beyond the recall of a simply apology. He knew that temptations
of creature comforts clouded his judgments on important issues. For
these and other failures known only to himself he could only rely on a
faith in divine love and mercy.
To interpret Gottlieb Schober, even "warts and all," as the fulfillment
of a vision of discipleship is to assign the best possible motives to his
actions. Some would see him as a monumental ego, cocky and impertinent
even in adulthood, greedy for material prosperity, always dissatisfied
unless he was in the spotlight, and livid with rage if anyone dared to
question his opinion or judgment. The residents and officials of Salem on
several occasions wondered whether he was more liability than asset. The
answer probably lies in the fact that Salem itself was in the process of
The changes in the nature of the community which had begun while
Gottlieb was alive accelerated in the years following his death. In the
1830s, the increasing use of slave labor, despite efforts of congregation
leaders to restrict it, soon made Salem indistinguishable from hundreds of
other small villages in the antebellum South. The financial crisis of 1837
inflicted mortal wounds on the remaining communal enterprises. In
1840, the monopoly in storekeeping was abandoned, the tannery was sold
to its operator, and the tavern was managed by a non-Moravian. Nine
years later the entire monopoly system was discarded in favor of open
competition in a free enterprise system.
226 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
By this time, Salem citizens were aware that the last vestige of the old
theocratic organization, the lease system, could not long endure. It
became "more and more apparent that we had for some time contented
ourselves with the shadow after the substance had virtually been with-
drawn." 5 As the governing boards struggled for an equitable solution, the
North Carolina Legislature in 1849 divided Stokes County to create
Forsyth County. Salem already stood near the center of the new unit and
was therefore the logical choice as county seat. Against the counsel of
church leaders, the Congregation Council voted to sell fifty-one acres of
land to the Forsyth Commissioners at five dollars per acre. The southern
edge of the tract was located five hundred feet from Salem's northern
boundry; on this land, named in honor of revolutionary hero, Joseph
Winston, the buildings for the new county were erected. Only a few years
later the lease system was dissolved, lease holders were allowed to buy
their lots, and other new lots were sold at auction. 6
In short, from a theocratic community in which individuals confi-
dently believed that God was involved in the management of their lives,
Salem was moving slowly toward the kind of civil community more
characteristic of the American scene. These civil communities, while
maintaining many of the old social and economic values, relied more on
the human ability to discover correct action than on continual divine
guidance. Salem did not, of course, immediately become a secular town as
the theocratic concept faded. Towns are made of people and Salem's
people were mostly dedicated Moravians for many years. But the civil
community was changing nevertheless. Concurrently, the religious
dimension of Salem was also in transition. Moravians had been a recog-
nized Church from at least the early 1700s, if not before. Now they began
to reveal more clearly the characteristics of a denomination, again reflect-
ing the trends of American religious history. The denomination is a
nineteenth century American development, characterized by a political
context of religious freedom, voluntary membership, and a purposive
missionary activity aimed at increasing the group's size. 7 As Moravians
5 Memorabilia of the Salem Congregation, 1856, Moravian Archives.
6 The full account of the changes in Salem is contained in Jerry L. Surratt, From
Theocracy to Voluntary Church and Secularized Community: A Study of the Moravians in
Salem, North Carolina 1772-1860 (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1968).
7 See Sidney E. Mead, The Lively Experiment: The Shaping of Christianity in America
A Vision of Discipleship • 227
became more voluntaristic, they became more denominational. The con-
gregation in Salem was now a voluntary body — only those citizens of
Salem who desired to join were members of the body.
Gottlieb Schober was much involved in the early portion of this
evolution, and in many ways he epitomized its essence. He would not
have been displeased with the developments after his death and with the
character which the community and the Church ultimately assumed.
According to a newspaper obituary, 8 he was the last survivor of the early
inhabitants of Salem. In spirit, however, perhaps he was the first of a new
generation of pioneers.
(New York: Harper and Row, 1963) and Sidney E. Mead, "Denominationalism: The
Shape of Protestantism in America," Church History, 23:291-320.
8 Newspaper clipping in the fly-leaf of Gottlieb Schober's Bible, exact source unknown.
Archives of the Moravian Church in America, Northern Province, Bethlehem, Pennsyl-
Book Inventory for Nazareth Hall, 30 April 1771. Translation by Del-Louise
Draft for the House Regulations of the Educational Institution at Nazareth, n.d.
Translation by Del-Louise Moyer.
Memoir of Andreas Schober
Memoir of Hedwig Schober, nee Schubert
Archives of the Moravian Church in America, Southern Province, Winston-Salem, North
Board of Overseers Minutes, Salem, 1772-1840, Translation by Erika Huber.
Heifer Conferenz Minutes, Salem, 1772-1811, Translation by Erika Huber.
Congregation Council Minutes, Salem, 1772-1840, Translation by Erika Huber.
Elders' Conference Minutes, Salem, 1772-1840, Translation by Edmund Schwarze.
Fries, Adelaide L. History of the Single Sisters' House. Typescript.
Daybook for the Hope Sunday School, Stokes County, North Carolina,
Memoirs of the Schober Family Members.
230 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Maria Magdalena Schober, nee Transou
Johanna Sophia Vaniman, nee Schober
Anna Paulina Herman, nee Schober
Hedwig Elizabeth Schober
Magdalena Transou, nee Gander
Gottlieb Schober Papers
North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Estate Papers of Gottlieb Schober
Legislative Papers of the Senate of North Carolina, 1789.
Stokes County Deed Book, 1, 2, 5, 7, 10
Old Salem, Incorporated Archives
Gottlieb Schober Papers. Some Translation by Grace Dollnitz and by Elizabeth
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library, Southern Historical Collection.
David Henkle Papers No. 338.
Lenoir Family Papers No. 426.
Africa, Philip, "Slaveholding in the Salem Community, 1771-1851," North Carolina
Historical Review, 54 (July 1977): 271-307.
Ahlstrom, Sydney E., "The Romantic Religious Revolution and the Dilemmas of Re-
igious History," Church History, 46 (June 1977): 149-70.
Atherton, Lewis E., The Southern Country Store. Baton Rouge: The Louisiana State
University Press, 1949.
Bernheim, G. D. History of the German Settlements and of the Lutheran Church in North
and South Carolina. Philadelphia: The Lutheran Book Store, 1872.
Bishop, J. Leander. A History of American Manufactures from 1608 to I860. 3 volumes.
Philadelphia: Edward Young and Company, 1866.
Brickenstein, John C. "The Second 'Sea Congregation,' 1743," Transactions of the
Moravian Historical Society. 1:107-24.
The British Museum General Catalogue of Printed Books. Photolithograph edition to
1955. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1965.
Clark, Walter, ed. The State Records of North Carolina, 16 volumes. Winston, Goldsboro,
& Raleigh: State of North Carolina, 1886-1907.
Corbitt, D. L., ed. "The Robert J. Miller Letters," North Carolina Historical Review. 25
(October 1948): 485-521.
Bibliography • 231
DeVoe, Shirley S. The Tinsmiths of Connecticut. Middletown: Wesleyan University
Douglass, Elisha P. The Coming of Age of American Business. Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press, 1971.
Erstes Lesebuch fur Kinder. Neu York: Amerikanischen Tractat: Gesellschaft, n. d.
Ettinger, A. A., ed. Two Centuries of Nazareth, 1740-1940. Nazareth PA: Nazareth Bi-
centennial, Inc., 1940.
Fortenbaugh, Robert. The Development of the Synodical Polity of the Lutheran Church in
America, to 1829. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1926.
Fries, Adelaide L. Customs and Practices of the Moravian Church. Revised Edition. Win-
ston-Salem: Board of Christian Education and Evangelism, 1973-
"An Early Fourth of July Celebration," journal of American History. 9 (July
"First Paper Mill in Salem Started in 1791," Employment Security Commis-
sion Quarterly. 6 (Winter 1948): 30-32.
, trans, and ed. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. Volumes 1-6.
Raleigh: North Carolina Historical Commission, 1927-1943; Volume 7. Raleigh:
State Department of Archives and History, 1947.
Forsyth County. Winston NC: Stewart Printing House, 1898.
_ Stuart T. Wright andj. Edwin Hendricks. Forsyth: A County on the March.
Revised edition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976.
Gambosi, Marily. A Day of Solemn Thanksgiving: Moravian Music for the Fourth of July,
1783, in Salem, North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,
Griffin, Frances. Less Time for Meddling: A History of Salem Academy and College, 1 772-
1866. Winston-Salem NC: John Fries Blair, Publisher, 1979.
Hacker, H. H. Nazareth Hall. Bethlehem PA: Times Publishing Co., 1910.
Hamilton, J. Taylor and Kenneth G. Hamilton. History of the Moravian Church: The
Renewed Unitas Fratrum, 1722-1937. Bethlehem PA: Moravian Church in America,
Hamilton, Kenneth G., trans, and ed. The Bethlehem Diary, 1742-1744. Beth-
lehem, Pennsylvania: Archives of the Moravian Church, 1971.
, trans, and ed. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, volumes 10-1 1.
Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1966 and 1969.
Hammond, Bray. Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957.
Hazen, Edward. The Panorama of Professions and Trades. Philadelphia: Uriah Hurt and
Hembury, D. M. "Baptismal Controversies, 1640-1900," Christian Baptism, A. Gilmore,
editor. Philadelphia: Judson Press, 1959.
232 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
Henkel, David. Carolinian Herald of Liberty, Religious and Political, An Oration. Salis-
bury NC: Krider & Bingham, 1821.
Heavenly Flood of Regeneration, or, A Treatise on Holy Baptism. Salisbury
NC: Bingham & White, Printers, 1822.
Henkel, Socrates. History of the Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod. New Market
VA: Henkel and Co., 1890.
Hunter, Dard. Papermaking in Pioneer America. Philadelphia: University of Penn-
sylvania Press, 1952.
Jacobs, Henry E. Book of Concord. Philadelphia: United Lutheran Publication House,
James, Hunter. The Quiet People of the Land: A Story of the North Carolina Moravians
in Revolutionary Times. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976.
Johnson, Guion G. Ante-Bellum North Carolina: A Social History. Chapel Hill:
University of North Carolina Press, 1937.
Journals of the Senate and the House of Commons of the General Assembly of North
Carolina, 1790-1860. Raleigh: State of North Carolina, 1861.
Jung-Stilling, Heinrich. Scenes in the World of Spirits, G. Schober, translator. New
Market VA: Ambrose Henkel and Co., 1815.
Korner, Jules G, Jr. Joseph of Kernersville. Durham NC: Seeman Printery, 1958.
Kurzer Bericht von den Conferenzen der Vereinigten Evangelisch Lutherischen Pre-
digern und Abgeordnetan in dem Staat Nord-Carolina vom Jahr 1803, bis zum Jahr
1810. Neu-Market VA: Ambrostus Henkel, 1811.
Lefler, Hugh T. and Albert R. Newsome. North Carolina: The History of a Southern
State. Third edition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1973.
Levering, Joseph M. The History of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 1741-1892. Bethlehem PA:
Times Publishing Co., 1903.
Lewis, A.J. Zinzendorf: Ecumenical Pioneer. London: Westminster Press, 1962.
Lineback, Julius A. "The Single Brethren's House of Salem, North Carolina," Salem 's Re-
membrancers. Winston-Salem NC: Wachovia Historical Society, 1976.
Lynn, Robert W. and Elliott Wright. The Big Little School. New York: Harper and Row,
Mead, Sidney. "Denominationalism: The Shape of Protestantism in America," Church
History, 23, (December 1954): 291-320.
The Lively Experiment: The Shaping of Christianity in America. New York:
Harper and Row, 1963.
Moon, R. O. Jung-Stilling: His Biography. London: G T. Foulis and Co., 1938.
Morgan, Jacob L., Bachman S. Brown, and John Hall. History of the Lutheran Church in
North Carolina. N. P. United Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina, 1953-
Peschau, F. W. E., trans. Minutes of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod and Ministerium
of North Carolina, 1803-1826. Newberry SC: Aull and Houseal, 1894.
Bibliography • 233
Pickering, Octavius and Charles W. Upham. The Life of Timothy Pickering. 4 Volumes.
Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1867-1873.
Plass, Ewald M., comp. What Luther Says: An Anthology. 3 Volumes. Saint Louis MO:
Concordia Publishing House, 1959.
Reichel, Levin T. A History of Nazareth Hall. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippencott Co., 1855.
Reichel, William C. Historical Sketch of Nazareth Hall from 1733-1869. Philadelphia: J.
B. Lippencott Co., 1869.
Rights, Douglas L. trans, and ed. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina. Volume 8.
Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1954.
Rondthaler, Edward. "The Use of the Lot in the Moravian Church," Salem's Remem-
brancers. Winston-Salem NC: Wachovia Historical Society, 1976.
Sabin, Joseph. Bibliotheca Americana. 29 volumes. New York: J. Sabin and other pub-
Sakolski, A. M. The Great American Land Bubble. New York: Harper and Bros., 1932.
Schmucker, Samuel S. The American Lutheran Church. Philadelphia: E. W. Miller, 1852.
Schober, Gottlieb. A Comprehensive Account of the Blessed Reformation of the Christian
Church by Doctor Martin Luther. Baltimore: Schaeffer and Maund, 1818.
Review of a Pamphlet, Issued from the Press of the Western Carolingian in
Salisbury, N. C, written by David Henkel. Salisbury NC: Bingham and White, 1821.
Smith, Minnie J. trans, and ed. Records of the Moravians in North Carolina, Volume 9.
Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1964.
Succinct Information of the Transactions of the German and English Lutheran Synod for
North Carolina and Adjacent States. Various printers for the Synod, 1811-1838.
Surratt, Jerry L. From Theocracy to Voluntary Church and Secularized Community: A
Study of the Moravians in Salem, North Carolina, 1772-1860. Ann Arbor: University
The Role of Dissent in Community Evolution among Moravians in Salem,
1772-1860," North Carolina Historical Review, 52 (July 1975): 235-55.
Walker, Williston. A History of the Christian Church. Revised Edition. New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959-
Warville, Jacques Pierre Brissot de. New Travels in the United States, Perfor?ned in
1788. New York: T & J Swords, 1792.
Weinlick, John R. Count Zinzendorf. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1956.
Wenhold, Lucy Leinback. "The Salem Boarding School between 1802 and 1822," North
Carolina Historical Review, 27 (January 1950): 32-45.
[Wilcocks, Thomas]. A Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ or a Short Word of
Advice to all Saints and Sinners. Ca. 1665. Reprinted by G. Shober. New-Market VA:
Ambrose Henkel and Co., 1811.
Yoder, Donald H. "Christian Unity in Nineteenth Century America," A History of the
Ecumenical Movement, 1517-1948. Ruth Rouse and Stephen C. Neill, editors.
Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954.
234 • Gottlieb Schober of Salem
[Zinzendorf, Nicolas L.] Maxims, Theological Ideas and Sentences out of the Present Or-
dinary of the Brethren's Churches . . . from the year 1738 till 1747. Extracted by J.
Gambold. London: J. Beecroft, 1751.
Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion. Trans, and ed.
George W. Forell. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1973.
Abbeville SC, 136
Alamance County, 120n
Alcohol abuse in Salem, 26-27, 73, 84,
86, 91, 114
Alexander, Evan, 66n, 95
American Revolution: and Salem, 22-24,
24n, 40, 94
American Sunday School Union, 212-14
Apprentice system in Salem, 22-23, 57,
Arndt,J. G., 137
Arnett, Valentine, 76
Augsburg Confession: and the Henkels,
186-87, 202; ideas of, 170,203-204; and
Lutherans, 138, 156, 172, 188, 195; and
Moravians, 138, 156; andSchober, 143,
151, 170-72, 185
Aust, Gottfried, 64
Aust, Mary, 64-66, 66n
Austwartige membership in Salem,
Bachman, Johann, 86, 174
Bagge, Charles, 73, 94
Bagge,Traugott,29n, 38,73,92, 106,120;
comparison with Schober, 60, 72, 93,
191; and Revolutionary opinion, 24n;
as store manager, 29-30
Bank of Cape Fear, 179
Banking in North Carolina, 109-10, 124,
Barnwell SC, 136
Baptism: of believers, 146; of infants,
145-50, 166, 169, 171; regeneration by,
184, 186-87, 189, 202
Baptists, 143, 143n; criticism of, 147, 199;
and Moravians, 138-39; and Sunday
Bartholomew, Thomas, 206-207
Beck's Lutheran Church, 165, 211
Bell, Joseph E., 168, 174, 183-86
Benzien, Christian L., 38; counseling
Schober, 108, 115, 130-33, 217; as
Wachovia administrator, 103, 121-22
Bernhardt, Christian E., 137
Bethabara, 16, 17, 30, 46, 47, 55, 57
Bethania, 16, 33, 41, 46, 55, 56, 65, 106,
132, 180, 209
Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 140, 211,
Bethlehem PA, 5, 7, 8, 9, 28, 34, 178
Biddle, Nicolas, 208
Billing, Joseph, 75
236 • Index
Blum, Heinrich, 73,217
Blum, Johann Christian, 207, 219
Blum, Johann Jacob, 217
Board of Overseers. See Overseers,
Bunyan, John, 161
Bussard, Daniel, 78-79
Buck, Charles, 168
Cabarrus County, 137
Cameron, Duncan, 103, 118-22
Camp meetings, 138
Calvin, John, 149
Castner, Adam, 184
Chapel Hill NC, 71
Charleston SC, 30, 37, 93, 136, 157, 174
Chesapeake (ship), 126-27
Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock
Christ ^, 142-45
Christ, Rudolph, 21, 24, 114-15
Christman, Daniel, 60
Christian discipleship, Schober's concept
of, 63, 100, 103, 128, 130, 132, 223-25
Christocentric theology, Schober's 143-
Choir system in Salem, 4, 18, 33, 35. See
also Single Brothers' House and Single
Church: in Salem, 85, 87; Schober's
concept of, 144-50, 170-71, 187
Cist, Charles, 75
Clement of Alexandria, 149
Clement, Johnson, 123
Clewell, David, 216-19
Community store: and the communal
system, 18, 93-94, 217, 219, 225; and
Schober, 29-30, 40, 42, 43, 46-47, 53,
Comprehensive Account of the Rise and
Progress of the Reformation of the
Christian Church by Doctor Martin
Luther A, 168-69, 172, 194, 199,
200; and the Augsburg Confession,
170-72; and ecumenism, 169, 172-74
Congregation Council, 156; in com-
munity social matters, 28, 40, 58,
96-97; in governance, 219, 226
"Congregation of God in the Spirit,'' 3,
Congregation meeting hall, 16, 104
Congregation-town, 4, 8
Court system of North Carolina: county
courts, 64-65, 68-69, 158; Court of
Conference, 118; Justice of the Peace,
67, 98, 101-102, 158; Superior Court,
71, 101, 110-11, 117, 121, 123-24;
Supreme Court, 103, 122, 132n
Cornwallis, Lord, 22
Cossart, Henry, 69, 119
Creek Indians, 105
Cross Creek (Fayetteville), 30, 35, 157
Danville VA, 157
Davidson County, 211
Davie, Colonel William R„ 66, 71
Davis, Robert, 205
Discipline in Salem, 65, 73, 84; of
Schober, 21, 23, 39, 43, 46-47, 90-91,
98-99; of young people, 21, 23, 114,
Divorce and Alimony, 110, 123-24
Dixon, Elizabeth, 30
Dobson, William, 157
Ebert, George, 73, 84
Ecclesiola in ecclesia, 135, 139
Economic philosophy: of individualism,
1, 60, 93-94, 216-19; of Salem, 42, 45-
46, 52,93-94, 216-19
Ecumenism: among Lutherans, 133, 136-
37, 141, 182-83, 185, 193,204-205,212;
among Moravians, 132, 135-36, 152,
160; of Schober, 169, 170-73, 185, 193,
Edenton NC, 110
Edgefield SC, 136
Education in Salem, 104-105. See also
Girls Boarding School; School for Boys
Edwards, Jonathan, 164
Eldridge, William, 57, 84, 88
Elections, county, 91, 105-106; the
Schobers elected in, 107, 112, 122-23,
Elders' Conference: and community di-
rection, 44, 46, 55, 94-95, 96, 107, 131,
13940, 158, 181, 217, 226; and disci-
pline, 21, 23, 39-40, 112-14, 131; and
the lot, 16, 26, 46, 55, 101, 103, 104,
129, 139, 157, 180, 224; and marriage,
30, 35, 129-30, 157, 180
Index • 237
Elizabeth (ship), 34
Embargo Act of 1807, 126-27
Emerson, Ralph W., 164
Empie, Adam, 204-205
England, 42, 126
Ephrata PA., 44, 48, 50, 53, 56
Episcopal Church of North Carolina,
Evil in Scenes in the World of Spirits, 163
Expulsion from Salem, 27, 65, 114
Fayetteville NC, 30, 35, 110, 157
Fayetteville Gazette, 48
Federalist political party, 108, 109, 127
Finance Committee of the General As-
sembly, 123-24, 125
Forsyth County, 226
Fourth of July celebration, first ob-
servance of, in Salem, 36-37, 37n
Franz, Christian, 9n
Frederick William Marshall vs John
Lovelass and others, 69-71
French and Indian War, 16
Friedensthal PA, 33
Friedburg congregation, 213
Friedland congregation, 94, 106, 212
Fries, William, 217,219
Fritz, Johann Christian, 20, 22, 25-26
Garrison, Captain Nicholas, 5
Geiger (given name unknown), 112-13
General Assembly. See North Carolina
General Synod. See Lutheran General
Gerhard, William, 75
German Reformed Church. See Re-
Germanton, 66, 91, 140, 146, 208, 21 In
Girls Boarding School, 106, 107; es-
tablishment, 104-105; and the
Schobers, 89, 112-13, 166, 179, 208n;
and Sunday schools, 166
Glotz, Petrus, 16, 17n
God's Acre, 46, 221
Goethe, Wolfgang, 160, 165
Gordon, Charles, 76
Graff, Johannes Michael, 10, 34n; and
Mulberry Fields suit, 70, 121-22
Granger, Gideon, 106
Granville, Earl. See John, Earl of Gran-
Green, Samuel, 143
Greene, Nathaniel, 22
Grist mill, 93-94
Guilford County, 137, 139, 165
Halifax NC, 23, 58
Hamilton, Alexander, 50, 108
Hanes, Anna, 208
Hanes, Hannah, 208n
Hanes, Philip, 208n
Harry, John B., 187
Hauser, Abraham, 89-90
Hauser, Catherine, 67
Hauser, George, 66, 106
Hazelius, Ernst L., 139
Heaven: in Scenes in the World of
Spirits, 162, 163; Schober anticipating,
Heckewalder, Christian, 26, 27, 87
Heinzmann, Anna Catherina Reuter, 36n
Heinzmann, Johann C, 36n
Heeter, Christian J., 76
Heifer Conferenz, 42, 92, 99, 152
Hell: in Scenes in the World of Spirits,
Henderson, Richard, 74
Henkel, David: and the Carolinian
Herald of Liberty . . . , 195-97; and the
General Synod, 194-97; ordination of,
166-67, 184-86; orthodoxy of,
questioned, 183-84, 189, 199-200
Henkel, Paul, 138, 139, 194, 200
Henkel, Philip, 137, 174, 200; and
Schober's Comprehensive Account of
the . . . Reformation . . . , 167-68; op-
posed to the General Synod, 194; and
ordinations, 185-86; and Schober, 133,
Herbst, Johann Heinrich, 178, 217
Herder, Johann, 160
Herman, Anna Paulina. See Schober,
Herman, Johann G.: and Anna Paulina
Schober, 191; as Moravian leader, 191,
208, 220, 224
Herrnhaag community, 4, 5
Herrnhut community, 4, 5
Hill, James, 189, 199
238 • Index
Hillsborough NC, 103, 122, 177, 212
Hohns, Rebecca, 157
Holy Communion, 216, 223; in Henkel
controversy, 186-87, 199-200, 212
among Lutherans, 141-42,169,171-72
among Moravians, 21, 90, 115, 179
and Schober, 20, 39, 90, 114, 115, 131,
Hope congregation, 26n, 157, 208, 213
Hopewell Lutheran Church, 140, 211,
Hopfner, Johann, 7n
House, Schober's, 38-40, 72
House of Commons. See North Carolina
House of Commons
Hoyl, Andrew, 183, 199, 200
Hulgan, John, 49
Hume, David, 168
Hutton, James, 40n, 69
Immanuel Lutheran Church, 186, 197
Immortality, concept of, in Scenes in the
World of Spirits, 161-65
Impressment of American seamen, 126
Indian missions, 1, 105
Indian tribes: Creek, 105; "Nantekoke,"
76, 80; "Tusharara," 77
Internal improvements in North
Carolina, 124-25, 128
Iredell County, 121-22, 130
Jefferson, Thomas, 108, 126-27
Jenkins, William, 209
John, Earl of Granville, 15, 69, 119
Jung-Stilling, Heinrich, 159-60, 165
Justice of the Peace, 67, 158; Schober as,
98, 101, 107, 108, 130
Justin Martyr, 149
Kerner, Joseph, 91, 179
Kerner's Crossroads, 157, 179
Kluge, Peter, 191
Krause, Gottlob, 39
Krause, Johann, 53
Kreuser, Conrad, 159
Kuehln, Christian David, 190
Labor problems in Salem, 22-23, 38, 94-
Lancaster, PA, 208, 209
Land speculation: in Maryland, 76-80,93,
177; in North Carolina, 74-75, 93, 156;
in Pennsylvania, 74
Law, practice of. See Vocation of practice
of law, Moravian criticism of
Lawyer, Schober as. See Schober, Got-
tlieb, as attorney
Lease system: description of, 18, 38, 47,
51-52, 55; abandoned, 226
Leather working and Schober, 20-21, 23,
Legal procedures, Moravian attitude
toward, 65, 90, 98, 102, 112-13, 129
Legal studies of the Schobers, 63, 66,
Lembke, Francis C, 10
Lenior, General William: as land specu-
lator, 75, 76; in Mulberry Fields case,
70-71,92, 119-21, 132n
Leopard (ship), 126-27
Libraries, circulating, in the Sunday
schools, 213, 215
Lincoln County, 137, 183
Linen weaving, 18-20
Lititz PA, 86, 209
Little Strength (ship), 5-7
Lochman, George, 193-94
Lord's Supper. See Holy Communion
Lot, use of: in discipline, 21, 90-91; in
election of Overseers, 55, 98; in gover-
vance, 16, 23, 26, 35, 96-97, 101, 103,
104, 1 12, 1 15; in marriage, 30, 36, 129,
139, 157, 159, 180, 191, 192n
Lovefeast, 6, 7, 37, 87, 97, 220
Luther, Martin, 168-70, 174, 215, 223
"Luther" by Schober. See A Compre-
hensive Account of the . . . Refor-
mation . . .
Luther's Catechism, 202 ; and the General
Synod, 188, 195, 203; and religious in-
struction, 152, 165
Lutheran Church in North Carolina, 135-
36; and ecumenism, 152-53, 194,204-
205, 212; and Schober, 131-33, 138,
140-42, 150-53, 154-55, 165-76, 182-
89, 193-204, 211, 215-216, 221
Lutheran General Synod, 186-188; and
the Henkels, 188, 194-97, 201; and
Schober, 174, 182, 185, 198-99
Lutheran Synod of New York, 174
Index • 239
Lutheran Synod of North Carolina and
Adjacent States, 133, 136-37, 141; of
1811, 140-41;of 1812, 141-42; of 1813,
150-53; of 1814, 165; of 1816, 166; of
1817, 168-69, 174, 182; of 1819, 182-
84, 196, 197, 199-200; of 1820, 186-87,
189, 197, of 182 1,195-96; of 1822,201;
Lutheran Synod of Ohio, 187
Lutheran Synod of Pennsylvania, 136,
202; and ecumenical efforts, 141, 182,
Lutheran Synod of Tennessee, 185, 188,
194, 196, 198, 201, 202
Macon, Nathaniel, 108
Man, nature of, in Schober's theology,
Marck, David, 92
Marshall, Frederic William: admini-
strator of Wachovia, 17, 40n, 47; and
Mulberry Fields suit, 69-71, 121-22
Marriage among Moravians, 35-36, 36n,
114, 129; as a group, 4-5; with the lot,
30, 36, 129, 139, 157, 159, 180, 191,
Marriage and divorce in North Carolina,
110, 123, 124
Martin, Governor Alexander, 36-37
Maryland land suit, 77-80, 177
Mazinger (given name unknown), 41
Melanchthon, Philip, 170, 171
Methodists, 138, 139, 173, 214; in Henkel
controversy, 189, 199
Meyer, Jacob, Sr., 37
Meyer, Jacob, Jr., 28
Military Service and Moravians, 7, 220;
exemption from, 72-73, 109, 124; in
Miller, Robert J., 200; and Episcopal
Church, 204-205; and Lutheran
Church, 133, 137, 165-66, 168, 187; and
Schober, 133, 165-66, 168
Milner, Joseph, 168
Ministerial education among Lutherans:
private instruction as, 137-38; Schober
advocates, 151, 174, 198, 225; seminary
for, 174, 183, 188, 195, 203,205
Ministry, Schober's concept of, 133, 150-
Missionary trips to North Carolina set-
tlers, 137, 138
Monopoly system: beginning of decline,
94, 216; breakup of, 216-19, 225; de-
scription of, 18, 93-94; protection of,
by boards, 85; purpose of, 27
Montgomery, Hugh, 70, 119-20, 132n
Moral problems in Salem, 114, 208n
Moravian Synods: of 1801, 96, 97, 99; of
1818, 179, 180-81; of 1848 and 1857,
224; governance by, 95
More, Allfred, 119
Morganton NC, 70, 103, 118, 121
Moser, Daniel, 197, 197n
Muhlenberg, Henry Melchoir, 136
Mulberry Fields land suit, 69-71; and
Schober as Moravian attorney, 71, 92,
102-103, 117-22, 130, 132
Miicke, Johannes, 64
Miiller, Frederick, 106
Murphey, Archibald D., 122, 128, 130
Music and Schober, 37; as organist, 46, 5 5 ,
director, 87, 99; as a youth, 10-11, 17-
"Nantekoke" Indians, 76, 80
Nazareth PA, 7-8, 180n
Nazareth Hall, 9-12, 22
Nazareth Lutheran Church in North
Carolina, 140, 211, 211n, 216
New Bern NC, 109, 110, 135
New Jerusalem Lutheran Church, 211,
New Orleans LA, 106
Newport RI, 191-92, 208
Nicholaus Ludwig. See Zinzendorf,
Nicholaus Ludwig, Count von
Nilson, Johann, 26-27
Nissen, Tycho, 37
North Carolina Confiscation Act of 1777,
North Carolina Constitution, 124, 128
North Carolina General Assembly, 106,
226; and military exemptions, 73, 109,
124; and Moravian land, 40, 70-71,
240 • Index
120; and the Schobers 50-51, 58, 108-
11, 122-28, 179,208
North Carolina Provincial Assembly, 23
North Carolina House of Commons, 106,
North Carolina Senate: and Emmanuel
Schober, 179, 208; and Gottlieb
Schober, 3, 103, 107, 109-11, 122-28
Notary public, 73
Nussman, Adolph, 137
Oesterlein, Matthew, 36
Orangeburg SC, 136
Ordination to the ministry among
Lutherans, 138; of Henkel, 183, 185-
86, 196; of Schober, 133
O'Reilly, Patrick H., 77-79
Organ Lutheran Church, 133, 137, 202
Organist, Schober as. See Music and
Origen of Alexandria, 149
Overseers, Board of, 97, 208; criticism of
Schober's business affairs, 42-44, 45,
46-47, 190-91, 216-19; and discipline,
21,64-66,84,90, 112-14, 130; general
management by, 8, 25, 29, 39, 41, 67,
72, 84-86, 91, 98, 102, 123, 157, 159,
181-82, 189-90, 207, 224, 226; and
paper mill, 48, 51-53, 55, 56-57,72,83-
84, 117, 156, 205-206; Schober a
member of, 54, 73-74, 90, 92, 98
Paper currency, 22, 109-10, 124, 125
Paper making, 49, 54
Paper manufactory in Salem: establish-
ment of, 48, 50-53, 55-57; manage-
ment of, 56, 57, 83-84, 207; retooling
of, 205-206; as Schober's financial as-
set, 93, 156, 182; and Salem land, 51-
Peter, Frederich, 33
Peter, Susannah Elizabeth, 157
Petersburg VA, 46, 92, 93
Philadelphia, PA, 30, 43, 44, 53, 58, 93,
Physical violence, Schober involved in,
Pickering, Timothy: and land specu-
lation, 74, 75; sues Schober, 177-78
Pilgrim Lutheran Church, 165, 174, 211
Plan of union of Prussia, 193
Poor relief fund: Schober's admini-
stration of, 46, 54-55, 73, 86
Population of Salem area, 93
Post road, 106
Postal rates, 58, 1 18
Postmaster, 86, 93, 108; Gottlieb as, 58,
198; Nathaniel as, 129; Emmanuel as,
Pottery works, 18, 64, 94
Praezel, Gottfried, 17-19, 38n
Preaching, Schober's, 133; character of,
141-42, 170-71; at Lutheran synods,
141-42, 165, 174, 215, 216; among
Moravians, 191, 214, 215
Predestination and Schober, 150-51
Presbyterian Church, 171
Public roads, development of, advocated,
Public schools, 128, 166
Purysburg SC, 136
Quakers, 109, 124, 128
Raleigh NC, 51, 93, 1 10, 1 1 1, 118, 122,
123, 128, 130, 178
Ravenscroft, Bishop John S., 205
Reading and writing in Sunday schools,
Reformed Church in North Carolina,
133, 171; association with Lutherans,
136-37, 193, 194
Regulator movement, 120, 120n
Reich, Christian, 84-85
Reichel, Charles, 112
Reichel, Gotthold, 152
Reichel, Johann F., 94, 98
Religious instructions, 89, 15 1-52, 165-66
Republican political party, 108, 109, 127
Reuter, Christian Gottlieb, 36, 37
Reuz, Johannes, 86, 91
Revieiv of a Pamphlet . . . written by
David Henkel, Schober's, 197-200
Reward and punishment in eternity, 161-
65, 215, 220
Rineham, Benjamin, 107-108
Rippel, Henry, 166
Roman Catholicism, 169, 195, 199, 200
Index • 241
Roschen, Arnold, 137
Rosenmiiler, David, 216
Rousseau, Hillair, 76
Rowan County, 120, 133, 137, 174, 201,
Ruffin, Thomas, 177-78
Sacramental presence of Christ in Holy
Communion: according to the Augs-
burg Confession interpreted by
Schober, 171-72; in the Henkel con-
troversy, 184, 186-87, 189, 196, 199-
Saint Luke's Lutheran Church, 211
Salem: choirs, 4, 18, 33, 35; communal
businesses, 18, 93-95, 216-19, 225;
fashions in dress, 28-29, 29n; lease
system, 18, 51, 226; monopoly system,
27, 28n, 29, 216-19; nature of early, 16,
18; school fees, 55; slavery in, 53, 53n,
56, 56n, 93, 158-59, 207, 225; theo-
cratic, 1,95-97,226; water system, 28n,
Salisbury NC, 58, 93, 110, 137
Salvation through Jesus Christ: Jung-
Stilling advocates, 162-63; Schober
advocates, 141-45, 169, 184, 189, 193;
Wilcocks advocates, 143-44
Savannah GA, 7, 159
Scenes in the World of Spirits, 159-65
Schmucker, Peter, 187
Schmucker, Samuel S., 172, 203, 215
Schneider, Martin, 16, 17n, 21, 27
Schober, Andreas (father), 19, 28, 89; life
sketch of, 4-8
Schober, Anna, nee Hanes. See Hanes,
Schober, Anna Paulina (daughter), 220;
and the Girls Boarding School, 104,
179; and marriage, 159, 191-92; and
the Moravian Church, 155-56, 179-80;
youth, 57, 89, 104-105
Schober, Benjamin (son): birth and
Schober, Catharina, nee Kuntschner
Schober, Emmanuel (son), 167, 217; and
business, 179, 206-207; marriage, 208;
and the military, 1 58-59, 220; and poli-
tics, 179, 208; practice of law, 80; 129,
158, 179, 208, 220; youth, 57, 89, 105
Schober, Gottlieb, 9, 28, 30, 38, 44, 180-
81, 220-21; apprenticeships of, 17-24,
25-26; as attorney, 63, 66, 68-69, 69-71,
72, 91-92, 101-103, 117-22, 130, 132; as
businessman, 25-26, 27, 40, 41-42, 42-
216-19; career prosperity, 30, 36, 38-
40, 45, 84-85, 93, 207-208; childhood,
9, 10-12, 16-18, 19; as community
leader, 46, 54-55, 58,73,92,93,96-100;
and ecumenical Christianity, 3, 170-74,
185-87, 203; and education, 2, 151-53,
203, 211-15; health of, 165, 167-68,
221; and the Henkels, 133, 166-68,
183-86, 197-200; and land speculation,
74-80, 189-90; and Lutherans, 3, 131,
133, 165, 167,201, 203, 2l6;andmusic,
2, 10-1 1, 17-18, 36, 37, 46, 55, 86, 86-
87, 99, 115, 131, 139-40; and the paper
manufactory, 48, 52,53,55, 56-57, 181-
82; personality of, 2, 17, 39, 43, 89-91,
98, 99, 114, 225; in politics, 109-12,
123-28; publications of, 2, 142-45, 161-
65, 169-74, 197-200, 201; theology of,
141-53, 169, 171-72, 184, 187, 189, 193,
223-25; as young adult, 19-20, 21, 23,
Schober, Hedwig Elizabeth (daughter),
Schober, Hedwig Regina, nee Schubert
(mother), 28, 89; life sketch of, 4-8
Schober, Johann Andreas (brother), 9, 9n
Schober, Johanna Sophia (sister, born
1744, died as baby), 8-9
Schober, Johanna Sophia (sister, born
1747), 9 9n
Schober.Johanna Sophia (daughter): and
the Girls Boarding School, 88-89, 104;
and Vaniman Zevely, 129-30, 180,208,
209; youth, 44, 57
Schober, Johannes (grandfather), 4n
Schober, Joseph (brother), 9, 9n
Schober, Maria Magdalena, nee Transou
(wife), 220; childhood, 33-35 ; and Got-
tlieb, 30, 33, 37, 131-32, 220
Schober, Maria Theresa (daughter) 88,
180; and Peter Wolle, 180, 209, 220
Schober, Nathaniel (son), 79; childhood
of 38, 88-89; health of, 88, 156, 158,
242 • Index
179; marriage of, 157, 209; leadership
positions of, 92, 105, 156; as post-
master, 129, 156, 179; as storekeeper,
Schober, Rebecca, nee Hohns. See
Schober, Samuel (brother), 9, 9n
School fees in Salem, 55, 73
School for boys, 26, 36, 84, 86, 88
Schubert, Christian, 5n
Schubert, Dorothea, nee Rauch, 5n
Schulz, Thomas, 217
Sea congregation, 5-7
Seckendorf, Viet, 168
Sectionalism in North Carolina, 125, 128
Senate, North Carolina. See North
Senseman, Johann, 191
Sergeant, John, 76-77
Single Brothers' House, 16, 38, 191;
closes as residence, 114, 208, 208n; as
an economic unit, 18, 91 ; life in the, 19,
21, 22, 26, 95; and the Schobers, 88,
105, 129, 180; Schober in the, 17, 25
Single Sisters' House, 16, 35, 38-39, 114;
as an economic unit, 18, 91 ; principles
of 35; Schober's criticism of, 95, 112,
Shepherd of Hermas, 149
Shiloh Lutheran Church, 133n, 140, 211,
Slavery in Salem, 53, 53n, 56n, 158-59,
225; and Schober, 56, 93, 207
Slavery in North Carolina, 127-28, 170
Smallpox vaccination, 105
Smith, Captain Henry, 23
State Bank of North Carolina, 109-10
Statesville NC, 122
Stauber, Christian, 48, 53, 56-57
Steiner, Adam, 92, 105
Steinmann, Johannes, 41
Stilling, Heinrich. See Jung-Stilling,
Stokes County, 75, 226; elections, 107,
122; population, 93
Stokes County Sunday School Union,
Storch, Carl (Charles), 137; and the
General Synod, 172, 186-87, 203; as a
Lutheran leader, 141, 165-66, 186-87,
203; and Moravians, 138, 152-53; and
Schober, 130-31, 133
Store. See Community store
Storekeeping in early America, 59-60
Stotz, Samuel, 16, 17n, 178; controversy
with Schober, 97-100
Straele, Gottlieb, 16, 17n, 90-91
Sunday schools, 2; description of,212-14;
among Lutherans, 141, 151; organi-
zations for the support of, 212-15; and
Schober, 2, 165-66, 211, 215, 225
Supreme Court of North Carolina, 111; in
Mulberry Fields suit, 122, 130, 132n
Surry County, 23,93, 120; land in, 75, 156,
Synod, General. See Lutheran General
Synods, Lutheran. See Lutheran Synods
Synods, Moravian. See Moravian Synods
Tanneberger, David, 86
Tannery, 18, 93-94, 225
Tarboro NC, 110
Tavern, 28n, 37; in communal system, 18,
Taxation, 75, 91, 93, 124-25, 207
Theology of Schober: of baptism, 145-50;
of Christ, 141-45; of the Church, 144-
45, 147-48; of Holy Communion, 141-
42; of the ministry, 133, 150-51; on
Thomas, Rosina, 9n
Tinsmithy: Schober learns craft of, 4 1-42;
Schober as master of, 57, 84-85, 93,
Transou, Magdalena (Maria's mother),
33, 33n, 34; life sketch of, 34n
Transou, Philip, Sr. (Maria's father), 33-
34, 56; life sketch of 33 n
Transou, Philipp, Jr., 64, 189-90
"Tusharara" Indians, 77
United States Bank, 208
Unity Elders' Conference, 58; governance
by, 95,99, 131, 139, 181
University of North Carolina, 71, 111
Vleck, Jacob van, 152-53, 178
Vleck, William H. van, 221
Index • 243
Vocation of practice of law, Moravian
criticism of: of Gottlieb, 90, 98,102-
103; of Emmanuel, 129, 158, 208
Vogler, Christopher, 94
Vogler, John, 36n
Volz, Peter, 67
Wagemann, Johann George, 57
Wall, William, 146
War, Moravian attitude toward, 7, 22-24,
Warville, J. P. Brissot de, 49-50
Washington, President George, 58, 74
Watermark on Schober's paper, 53, 53 n
Watteville, Baron Johannes von, 5
Welborn, General James, 109; in
Mulberry Fields suit, 102, 118, 121,
Whitefield, George, 7
Wilcocks, Thomas, 143, I43n, 145, 150
Wilkes County, 70, 76, 119-22
Wilkes County land suit. See Mulberry
Fields land suit
Williams, Richard, 127
Williams, Robert, 106
Wilmington NC, 34, 109, 110, 157, 204
Winston, Joseph, 106, 226
Witherspoon, Reverent (given name un-
Wolle, Maria Theresa, nee Schober. See
Schober, Maria Theresa
Wolle, Peter: marriage, 180; and Schober,
207-208, 220; and service in the
Moravian Church, 180, 209, 220
Work ethic in Salem, 27, 84, 86, 94
Work stoppage, 22-23
Yarell, Peter, 45, 73
Young, Frederick William, 168
Zevely, Johanna Sophia, nee Schober. See
Schober, Johanna Sophia
Zevely, Vaniman: and Johanna Schober,
129-30, 129n, 208; and wool-carding
mill, 156, 180
Zinzendorf, Nicholaus Ludwig, Count
von, 135; ecumenical ideas of, 3, 135-
36, 193; and Moravians, 3,4, 5,9, 15n,
Zwingli, Hulreich, 170
■ "*\ _ * u $$
GOTTLIEB SCHOBER OF SALEM
Designed by Haywood Ellis
Composition by Omni Composition Services, Macon, Georgia
typeface — 11/13 Garamond; heads in Korinna Bold
the text was "read" by a Hendrix Typereader II OCR Scanner
and formatted by Mary M. Baker on an Addressograph Multigraph
Comp/Set 5404, then paginated on an A/M Comp/Set 4510
text paper — 60 pound Warren's Olde Style
cover — Holliston Roxite B 53540
and jacket — 100 pound enamel
Printing (offset lithography) by Omnipress of Macon, Inc., Macon, Georgia
Binding by John H. Dekker and Sons, Inc., Grand Rapids, Michigan
dr&m* r ^:
Duke University Libraries